Today is the latest “Super Tuesday” in the 2016 presidential election as voters from Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina pick their candidates for the Republican and Democratic Party nominations. The most interesting race comes on the Republican side, where Donald Trump is the clear frontrunner. Today, Trump can effectively end the race for the Republican Party nomination by winning Florida and Ohio. Here is the current state of the race and most recent polls released in the last 48 hours from Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Florida Times-Union, the Trafalgar Group, American Research Group, and Public Policy Polling. There is also a projection of how many delegates each candidate will win within each state.
In future states the Republican Party allows delegates to be split up in one of three ways. There is a winner take all method, in which the first place finisher takes all the delegates for a given state no matter how small the margin of victory. There is a proportional method in which delegates are awarded proportionally based on what percentage of the vote each candidate received. However, a candidate in a proportional state may earn no delegates if they do not meet a certain threshold percent (10 percent for example) of the overall vote in the state. Proportional states also often allow a candidate to win all the state’s delegates if they exceed 50 percent of the vote. Finally, some states have a “hybrid” system where a candidate can win some delegates according to how they perform in congressional districts.
Here is a breakdown of each state, their delegate allocation rules, and the latest poll numbers with a projections.
Florida – 99 delegates
Delegate Allocation: Winner take all
RCP Average: Trump 43.0%, Rubio 24.7%, Cruz 18.4%, Kasich 9.1%
Latest Poll: Trump 44%, Rubio 24%, Cruz 20%, Kasich 9% (Trafalgar Group from 03/12/2016 to 03/13/2016)
Nate Silver Projection: Donald Trump 97% chance of victory
Delegate Projection: Trump 99
Analysis: Florida is the biggest prize of the day as a winner-take-all state with 99 delegates. This state also has the most polling, with polls from Trafalgar Group, Florida Times-Union, ARG, Monmouth, and Quinnipiac all released over the last two days. The polls are remarkable in their consistency, as all of them have Trump between 44 and 49 percent in Florida. All the polls have Rubio trailing by at least 17 points at 24 percent to 27 percent. Finally, Cruz comes in third in all the polls with 16 percent to 20 percent support. Barring a gigantic polling error on the part of all these pollsters, Trump appears destined to win Florida and all of its 99 delegates today.
Ohio – 66 delegates
Delegate Allocation: Winner take all
RCP Average: Kasich 38.8%, Trump 35.4%, Cruz 17.8%, Rubio 4.2%
Latest Poll: Kasich 40%, Trump 35%, Cruz 15%, Rubio 5% (Monmouth University from 03/11/2016 to 03/13/2016)
Nate Silver Projection: John Kasich 86% chance of victory
Delegate Projection: Kasich 66
Analysis: There have been five polls released from Ohio over the last week. Three of those polls, from Monmouth, ARG, and NBC/WSJ/Marist, have Kasich leading by five to six points. Two polls, from CBS News/You Gov and Quinnipiac, have the race tied. Ohio is John Kasich’s home state, which means he has a good ground game in Ohio and is likely to benefit from the late deciders. As a result, Kasich is projected to win Ohio and its 66 delegates in this projection.
Illinois – 69 delegates
Delegate Allocation: Hybrid
RCP Average: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 29.5%, Kasich 18.5%, Rubio 13.5%
Latest Poll: Trump 38%, Cruz 34%, Kasich 16%, Rubio 11% (CBS News/You Gov from 03/09/2016 to 03/11/2016)
Nate Silver Projection: Donald Trump 62% chance of victory
Delegate Projection: Trump 26, Cruz 19, Kasich 17, Rubio 13
Analysis: There have only been two polls released from Illinois over the last week. Both polls, from CBS News/YouGov and NBC/WSJ/Marist, have Trump leading by four to nine points. However, both polls were taken four days ago and may not reflect any effect Trump’s violent rally in Chicago may have had on his ratings. Some believer Trump’s rally could help him if his supporters are emboldened, while others believe their could be a backlash from more moderate voters. Right now Trump is projected to win the state by a small margin, which will give him a plurality of the state’s delegates.
Missouri – 52 delegates
Delegate Allocation: Proportional (Hybrid)
Latest Poll: Trump 36%, Cruz 29%, Rubio 9%, Kasich 8% (Fort Hays St. University from 03/03/2016 to 03/10/2016)
Delegate Projection: Trump 24, Cruz 22, Kasich 6
Analysis: Missouri has the least polling of the states today, and the one poll that one released is five days old with a very small sample size (just 208 likely voters). The Fort Hays St. University poll has a margin-of-error of 7.0 points, which means it is quite possible that Cruz is actually leading and Trump is second in the state. The key will likely be how much Cruz can get of the evangelical vote in the state. Given the poll numbers that do exist, Trump is projected to win the state by a small margin over Cruz. Trump tends to underperform relative to his poll numbers, and Cruz usually has the best get out the vote effort, so it is quite possible that Cruz may score an upset in Missouri.
North Carolina – 72 delegates
Delegate Allocation: Proportional (0% Threshold)
RCP Average: Trump 41.3%, Cruz 29.0%, Kasich 11.3%, Rubio 8.7%
Latest Poll: Trump 44%, Cruz 33%, Kasich 11%, Rubio 7% (PPP from 03/11/2016 to 03/13/2016)
Nate Silver Projection: Trump 88% chance of victory
Delegate Projection: Trump 27, Cruz 20, Kasich 10, Rubio 9
Analysis: Trump is winning all of the last three polls released from North Carolina by anywhere from 6 to 20 points. The RCP average now has Trump leading by 12 points and there is little reason to expect anything but a Trump victory here given the current numbers. The good thing for Trump’s opponents is that North Carolina is a proportional delegate state with a zero percent threshold, which means that even with a Trump win he will not gain many delegates versus his closest rival, Ted Cruz.
Conclusion and Totals
At the end of the day Trump will likely win Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina giving him by far the most delegates. John Kasich will be able to claim victory in Ohio, but this will be somewhat of a hollow victory since Ohio is Kasich’s home state and Kasich is not well positioned moving forward in the primary race. Ted Cruz will need to have strong showing in the proportional states of Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina in order to stay competitive with Trump in the delegate race. Trump will come out of the night the winner and the clear frontrunner, but he still will not have put away his rivals.
Delegate Totals after Super March 15 Super Tuesday: Trump 647, Cruz 432, Rubio 187, Kasich 162