Santordammerung: The Wisconsin/Maryland/D.C. Primary Thread

MENASHA, WI - APRIL 02: Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Sabre Lanes bowling alley on April 2, 2012 in Menasha, Wisconsin. Wisconsin residents will go to the polls on April 3 to vote for their choice for the Republican presidential nominee. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The universe is counting on us, fellow political reporters. We’ve been saying that Wisconsin was make-or-break – or, if you prefer, MAKE OR BREAK – for Rick Santorum. If he loses there tonight, no transposing the “X state can be a breakthrough!” ledes. A convincing Romney win in Wisconsin will happen if he settles a lot of Republican nerves, convinces conservatives to settle, does better with the remaining demos than he’s done in the rest of the Midwest.

How’s it look so far? ABC News’s report on the early exits looks awfully good for Romney. Less than 40 percent of voters are evangelicals. There’s “an influx of independent voters,” but not a stirring one – the indie proportion of the vote has moved from 23 percent in 2008 to 30 percent now. Public Policy Polling’s survey of the state, which had Romney winning, pegged the independent/Democratic at 40 percent. This puts Santorum in the kill zone. Meanwhile, Santorum’s not on the D.C. ballot, and Maryland looks so forbidding that Santorum didn’t bother campaigning there this week. The state borders on Pennsylvania! Cumberland is basically rural PA! (Please don’t hold this comment against me, Marylanders.)

Put your predictions, projects, and delegate analyses in the comments.

8:01: Mitt Romney wins Maryland and Washington, D.C. Stop yawning, everybody! The first wave of late exits puts Maryland at Romney 49, Santorum 27, Gingrich 11, and Paul 10. What can this tell us about the delegate hunt? It’s tricky, because a new Democratic gerrymander, aimed at producing a 7-1 D majority, has chopped up the rural and suburban parts of the state in a truly gruesome way. But Romney is winning the Baltimore and Washington suburbs by 30 points, and winning the rest of the state – the peninsula, the long snaking Appalachia counties – by 12 points. He could sweep every delegate.

9:01: The first wave of Wisconsin exits: Romney 43, Santorum 35, Paul 11, Gingrich 6. Give all due praise to Public Policy Polling, because if the numbers in both states hold up, they completely nailed this.

More from the only close-esque race of the night:

- 38 percent of voters were Catholic. So’s Santorum! And yet, for the umpteenth time, Romney wins ‘em by a landside: 46-33.

- Romney wins Republicans overall, 51-37. The only partisan group that solidly goes Santorum: Democrats, 37-19. And only 11 percent of the electoric is Democratic.

- Romney wins Tea Party “supporters” 49-36. Conservatives? He wins them 48-39.

11:05: A report on the power of my Huntsman endorsement: Currently he’s at 312 votes, nearly 7 percent of the total.