Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is feeling “very good” about his chances to win in both Arizona and Utah when voters go to primaries and caucuses in each state, respectively. Both states will open polling on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 for their presidential preference elections.
While Utah voters will caucus on Tuesday, there is no early voting in Utah for this particular election. Contrast that with Arizona, where voters will cast ballots in the Republican presidential primary on Tuesday. More than 50% of all early voting ballots requested by state Republicans have been returned to election administrators, and many of those ballots were filled out before Marco Rubio had dropped out of the campaign. This puts Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in a very big hole, with very little time to dig himself out of it.
Arizona offers 58 Republican delegates, and they are awarded to the winner of the Arizona primary using a winner-take-all format. Given the facts on the ground, it will be very difficult for Cruz to be able to catch up to Trump in only two days time, and Trump is estimated to win by close to 10 percentage points in Arizona, based upon the most recent poll taken in Arizona. However, the poll also shows a great number of undecided voters still remain and are not expected to make up their minds until just before the polls open across Arizona. Trump’s only campaign appearance scheduled for Monday will take place in Washington, D.C., while Ted Cruz shows no scheduled events on his calendar prior to the election.
Utah conducts a very different type of election than the one held in Arizona. Utah’s presidential preference vote takes place as a caucus, where voters select delegates to state and county conventions, and then those delegates will cast their votes at the Republican National Convention, slated for Cleveland, Ohio this summer. Cruz does very good in caucusing states, like Iowa, for instance. While Cruz goes after a very small number of votes in Utah, it is the delegate prize that exists in Utah, which Cruz hopes to sweep up on Tuesday. Utah has 40 delegates up for grabs, but unlike Arizona, which is winner-take-all, Utah’s delegates are apportioned according to the outcome of the caucuses. Cruz has a huge advantage over Trump in Utah according to the latest polling data. That data shows Cruz with 52% of votes leading, followed in second place by Ohio Governor John Kasich with 29%, and Trump, the nation’s Republican front runner coming in third with a paltry 11%. The poll was conducted by Y2 Analytics from March 17 to March 19, 2016 among 500 likely Republican caucus attendees. This means that with just two days remaining until the caucuses, 8% of those polled remain undecided.