In the latest nationwide Republican poll from the Pew Research Center, businessman and 2016 Republican presidential Donald Trump continues to rank highest among all Republicans, in terms of voter support, with 41%, Texas Senator Ted Cruz comes in second with 32%, and Ohio Governor John Kasich comes in third with 20%. Trump’s campaign continues to draw middle-class voters and blue collar workers, and his lead among these demographics only continues to grow. Kasich does well among wealthier, more educated voters, and Cruz leads all voter groups among the evangelical Christian vote.
As we begin April, the fact that Trump continues to poll such large numbers of the middle-class, blue collar workers is a tremendous advantage to him as the campaign turns to the more industrialized states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York State, West Virginia, and Indiana. In these states expect for Kasich to begin drawing on dissatisfied Trump and Cruz voters, creating a circumstance where Republicans can simply choose to have a divided convention or not, this summer in Cleveland, Ohio.
If the convention is a contested one, many feelings are going to be bruised on all sides, and a Trump nomination will most certainly be the beginning of the end for the Republican party of today. Voters have such dissatisfaction with Congress that it’s possible we could see a significant move to the left on social issues, while moving more to the right on fiscal policy.
Now as to that convention this summer. Delegates are going to enter into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland more divided than ever, and there are huge disparities in social views all across the G.O.P. Right now, there is an approximately 45% chance that none of the three Republican candidates will make it to the convention with the required delegates to win the nomination outright.
There is no question that Trump will lead among all candidates in the number of delegates committed to him, and there is no sign that’s going to change in the near future. For Trump, staying on message and not allowing himself to become flustered will be the most important track for Trump moving forward. If he keeps his campaign on the main issues, jobs and the economy, his outcome becomes that he is the candidate that most likely will not lose the nomination.
Cruz and Kasich are so far behind Trump’s numbers on a national level, that their collective best bet for the convention is to try and deny Trump as many delegates as possible, and hope they can keep Trump from getting to 1,237 delegates; the number of pledged delegates needed to win outright the Republican party’s nomination for president.
While the Pew Research Center poll discusses a number of issues for voters, all economic and trade policy arguments are being won by Trump even now. Trump’s unfavorable ratings from long time Republican voters signals that the party establishment still does not want Trump to represent their party in the general election this November. This makes it more likely that we will see a contested convention on the Republican side of this election.
Just don’t tell that to Trump right now. His strategy is winning, he has won over 20 states so far, and tabloid stories about him and his family have only firmed up more support for him; quite the opposite of what the establishment has set out to do. The longer the campaign goes on, the more difficult its going to be for the Republicans to refuse to support the Trump candidacy.
There are going to be dissenters at the convention arguing against a Trump nomination. That argument could be left up in smoke over the next two weeks.
While Wisconsin goes to the polls on April 5, 2016, it will be only two weeks from the New York primary, which has 95 delegates up for grabs. Should Trump win New York, and at least win a couple more states in the northeastern U.S., Cruz’s argument that he should be the party’s nominee grows weaker and weaker.
However, someone who is gaining the most momentum in the Republican campaign is Kasich. Kasich has been polling within the margin of error for the Pennsylvania primary, and his numbers continue to grow within the most inner circles of the GOP.
For Cruz to be the nominee, he will have to win it before the convention. Failing to do that, if no one manages to reach the 1.237 delegate nomination threshold, the second choice after Trump is still going to be Kasich, instead of Cruz.
Many of Cruz’s colleagues in the Senate simply do not like him, and in states where their support could be keen, such as in California on June 7. Cruz’s failure to win over more voters is his true Achilles’ heal inside his campaign, and in order to change his numbers, he would need to move farther to the left than he is now, and not be seen as a person who wants to be a puppet master.
In doing the math, Cruz needs to win almost 75% of the remaining states outright in order to prevent Trump from gaining the nomination before Californians head to their primary election. Kasich cannot win the nomination through the primary process alone; he will need help from insiders to compel a floor fight, if possible, to try and get his name placed on the convention ballot.
The Pew Research Center’s poll of 834 registered Republican voters contains a margin of error of 3.9%. The survey was conducted between March 17 and March 27, 2016. While the survey will not be the last national survey involving Republican candidates, it is an important one all the same, as it shows Trump with a very solid lead, although in a fairly close race with Ted Cruz. With the candidacy of Marco Rubio’s coming to an end just a couple of weeks ago, its clear that much of Rubio’s support has gone to Trump, and not to Cruz; especially in the industrial northeastern U.S., and through the Great Lakes states.
Whether or not Trump can hold on to that support is a big unknown right now. The trends say that he can; it is only his skeptics who believe he cannot in this election.