Is It Time To Consider The Probability of a Trump Nomination?
I was bored, so I decided to look at the available statewide polling for the Republican presidential primaries.
Any primary before March 15 must award delegates based on proportional representation. Twenty-four states, and Puerto Rico host primaries or cacuses before that date. There’s 1,083 delegates available in those contests (a candidate needs 1,237 total to win the nomination). Most of the early delegates will be decided on March 1, when 624 are up for grabs in 12 states.
The state of those races, as best one can tell from the link above, is… interesting. Carson and/or Trump seem to be leading in the states where we have recent polling data, and it tends to mirror what we’ve seen from national data. Basically, they are both somewhere between 20 and 27%. Cruz and Rubio are next in line, each somewhere in the 8-15% range (Cruz does particularly well in Texas but the polls are probably too old to draw much information).
If the numbers hold, and since Trump hasn’t fallen off yet it might be time to consider that they will hold (especially with such a large field), we could be going into the March 15 winner take all contests with Trump leading the delegate counts, and Carson close behind. Those March 15 contests will likely be pivotal in determining the nomination - 5 states (Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina) have 358 delegates at stake. Trump leads in all but North Carolina (Carson), though three of those states don’t have recent polling. Ohio and Florida aren’t giving Kaisch and Rubio anything of a favored son bump, either. Again, if those numbers hold, Trump could, in theory double his delegate count on March 15 (assuming he’s somewhere around 270 delegates in the early contests, the four March 15 states would net him 286 delegates).
If that does happen, the media narrative may well be strong enough to carry Trump to the nomination. I don’t think we will actually get there. I think Trump will find a way, eventually, to alienate GOP primary voters. Perhaps the “wages are too high” stuff he’s recently gone with will do him in - the populism that Trump (and the GOP as a whole) is playing with is based in part on resentment, and part of that resentment is that wages have stagnated. Telling people that they’re making too much is probably not a good strategy in that case. Alternatively, we might be seeing something akin to the Bradley Effect when it comes to Trump and Carson - those being polled will say they support the outsider, but when it comes time to cast a vote, they’ll end up supporting someone with something that resembles experience.
Hopefully, Trump will find a way to do himself in before March 15 - and I say this as a former Republican - because a Trump (or Carson) nomination would not be good for the party or the country.