Sunday, April 3, 2016

Donald Trump could be in trouble, but not because of Wisconsin

Donald Trump is about to lose Wisconsin.  Should he be worried?  Yes.  But Wisconsin isn't why.

Let's take a quick look at the Wisconsin numbers.  Ted Cruz has pulled ahead, but not because Trump's numbers went down.  Cruz's numbers went up.  Trump has been steady in the 30's.  Cruz just passed him.  Why?  Best guess:  Scott Walker's endorsement.  The Wisconsin Governor is incredibly popular in his home state, and while endorsements haven't done much this cycle, this one might.  Originally, Walker was my pick for Republican nominee.  That didn't pan out, obviously, but maybe his word carries weight in Wisconsin.  Regardless of why, Trump's numbers haven't moved there.  Cruz just pulled ahead.  And that ain't enough to stop Trump because...

Nationwide?  Trump's numbers are on the up-swing, if anything.  He is polling north of 40%, with 50% a reach but in reach.  That's the key, as I keep arguing, because the convention can't get away with stealing the nomination at the convention if Trump has an outright polling majority, even if they could when Trump has a simple plurality.  And Cruz can't pull ahead of Trump with Kasich in the race, nor can Kasich drop out.  So, it is hard to see anyone pulling past Trump in the polls.  That's a big political problem for a convention theft scenario.

So what's next?  Well, New York.  Trump will crush Ted there.  Pennsylvania could help Kasich, but the polling there is inconsistent.  Even a Kasich win there complicates things because if Cruz can't close the delegate gap with Trump, the politics of stealing the nomination at the convention get uglier.

And then there's California.  Here's were Trump needs to worry.  Take a look at these polls!  There's a recent LA Times poll where Trump only has 1 point lead!  Only two polls show Trump with a big lead.  His position in California is weak.  And there's plenty of time.  California doesn't vote until June 7.

The problem for Cruz there is that California allocates delegates by congressional district, so a narrow win by Cruz won't necessarily give him the kind of lead he needs to really close the delegate gap.  And Trump is still a decent bet to win there.

Where does that leave us?  Trump's delegate lead isn't insurmountable, but it's close.  His nationwide polling lead is solid.  And we are speculating, seriously, about whether or not the Republican convention will steal the nomination from the polling leader/delegate leader because they just hate the guy.

2016 is insane.

And how can I end with anything other than this?

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