Monday, May 2, 2016

Indiana: Ted Cruz Pulls Out All the Stops...But Will Lose (As Will Bernie, If That Matters Anymore)

I cannot overstate this: Indiana is an utterly crucial primary in Donald Trump’s quest to win the GOP nomination outright within the primary season and thus avoid a potential convention fight. 

Over a month ago, when we created the “Trump Tracker,” we put Indiana in Trump’s column – with him winning 37 of the state’s 57 delegates – even though there was absolutely no polling at all to guide us.  The logic was simple:  Trump had already won Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan, losing only Ohio (to hometown John Kasich) among the states that border Indiana.  Since that time, there has been a plethora of polls -- seven in April -- and Trump has been ahead of Cruz in six of them, mostly in the high single digits.

Cruz, of course, has pulled out all the stops in Indiana, knowing precisely how crucial that state’s primary is to his hopes to deny Trump the magic 1,237.  First he struck a deal with John Kasich, with Kasich agreeing (grumpily) to not expend resources in Indiana if Cruz would agree to the same in New Mexico and Oregon.  This was a strange deal on the surface, given that Indiana is a neighbor of Ohio and shares a strong industrial base, thus appearing to be ripe for Kasich, while Cruz had been doing very well out west.  But the deal was struck, and Cruz moved on to his second unconventional gambit, naming Carly Fiorina as his VP.  No nominee has named a VP choice in the primary season since Ronald Reagan announced Richard Schweiker his choice in his 1976 losing bid (to Gerald Ford).  Cruz obviously hoped to magnify Trump’s weakness among women, as well as unleash Fiorina, a superb attacker, on The Donald.

Alongside these rather desperate strategic moves – in part designed to deflect the attention from Trump’s landslide sweep of five eastern primaries last week – were signs that the GOP establishment was not exactly swarming to the Cruz cause.  John Boehner – remember him? – referred to Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh” and “the most miserable son of a bitch” he’d ever worked with.  Nor was the reconciliation to a Trump nomination going much better; several notable VP candidates all but slammed the door on the possibility, including Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

Since the “deal announcement,” Kasich has shown signs of eroding support, dropping from the 16-20 range down to the 9-13 range in the latest two polls.  But this seems to be benefiting Trump more than Cruz; Trump is now in the 44-49% range, up from the 40%-ish range he had been in.  Cruz, if anything, is fading a bit from the 35% range to the low 30’s or even high 20’s.

Indiana has 57 delegates, and awards them on a winner-take-all basis at the statewide level for 30 delegates and 27 at the Congressional district level.

On the Democratic side, where it is all but “game over,” Hillary Clinton has led in every Indiana April poll, by a range of 3 to 13 points, on average by 7. 

BTRTN predicts that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will each win in Indiana, Trump quite handily, Clinton by a closer margin.

If Trump wins Indiana, it is all but over.  California is still out there, with its 172 delegates, on June 7.  But Trump is up over Cruz in California by an average of over 20 points in the last two polls, and a win in Indiana would certainly do nothing but good on the momentum front. 

So, America, better get used to Clinton versus Trump, two of the least popular candidates, if not the least, ever to top their parties’ tickets.

And for my moderate GOP friends, time to start assessing your options.  When George Will has come out against your party’s candidate (“Donald Trump’s damage to the Republican party, although already extensive, has barely begun”), you know the notion of rallying around the party’s nominee will be sorely tested. 

BTRTN Prediction

BTRTN Prediction

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment