Businessman Donald Trump and current Ohio Governor John Kasich are tied on the eve of the Ohio Republican presidential primary scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Of the five states scheduled to vote tomorrow, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio, only Ohio remains a neck and neck contest.
The latest poll from Quinnipiac University shows Kasich and Trump in a virtual dead heat with 38% each, followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 16%, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio at 3%. While the race has remained tied between Kasich and Trump for days, this poll shows the unique dynamics at play in this historical election.
Among all likely Republican voters, 4% remain undecided on the eve of tomorrow’s primary voting. This poll gives great detail to the Ohio electorate canvas for president. Kasich leads among women voters 44-33 percent over Trump, and Trump leads among men 40-33 percent over Kasich. Among the top three projected candidates tomorrow, 19% of respondents say that they might change their preference from the candidate they selected for this poll. Of all three candidates, Trump has the most solid base of voters, with 84% solid for Trump, while Kasich and Cruz still have more voters that could move to Trump as the polls open tomorrow.
What is not being considered in this poll are how many Democrats are changing party affiliation to vote in this primary. Of those who say they have switched parties from Democrat to Republican, approximately 2/3 are going for Trump. Trump has more registered voters in his camp than any of the other three candidates, and if they all turnout, it will be a close victory for Trump. Odds makers have generally been favoring Kasich in this race, on average giving Kasich about a 3 in 4 chance of beating Trump.
On election eve, Trump leads in registered voters by about a 2% margin versus Kasich, so Kasich must get the remaining votes from other candidates. Early voting has already ended, and Marco Rubio still appears to be in position to take about 4% of voters out of the Kasich mix. This places the polling results within the margin for error for both Kasich and Trump.
It’s all coming down to Trump vs. everyone else, and with the GOP giving up on Florida, Trump will still be adding to his leading delegate totals tomorrow. The only real question left to answer is this: if Trump wins Ohio, will the GOP finally support his candidacy?
The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 721 Republican voters likely to vote in tomorrow’s primary. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%.