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Super Tuesday Part Two Looking Very Good For Donald Trump

Twelfth Republican Debate

With just about twenty four hours to go before voting starts in what could be the most definitive week in the race for the Republican nomination, the latest round of polling suggests that one of two options is possible. Either Donald Trump wins the most important contests outright, in which case there would be virtually nothing standing between him and the Republican nomination, or he comes close enough to that goal that denying him the nomination would effectively set off a civil war inside the GOP. All other scenarios, including any in which the GOP establishment is able to effectively stop Trump, would seem to be rather unrealistic at this point.

First up in terms of new polls are numbers from CBS News and YouGov from three of the most important states holding contests tomorrow:

Donald Trump keeps his lead in winner-take-all Florida, at 44 percent over Ted Cruz’s 24 percent and Marco Rubio’s 21 percent. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich is tied with Trump 33 percent to 33 percent, in two of the big winner-take-all delegate prizes up on Tuesday.

In Florida, home-state Sen. Marco Rubio has been trying to get traction against Trump, but still trails. Sen. Ted Cruz has overtaken Rubio in Florida. In Illinois Trump also leads, 38 percent to 34 percent over Cruz, who is in striking distance, with Kasich back at 16 percent. The findings across the three states may suggests Cruz is emerging more generally in the minds of many non-Trump voters as the alternative to the frontrunner.

Turnout looks to be key for Trump’s fortunes, and the polling shows it is his campaign in particular that may be bringing out more Republicans than usual. His backers are much more likely than others to say they are interested in the 2016 contests mainly because Trump is running.

Trump’s support has been remarkably durable over this campaign in all previous states, and these surveys show how his backers are indeed aware of what they see as positive qualities, and also of the criticisms leveled against him. Overwhelming numbers of Trump voters describe him as looking out for them, authentic, and not beholden to big donors. At the same time many of his own backers describe Trump as being too extreme at times, and about four in ten feel he sometimes promises more than he’ll be able to deliver. None of that has changed their intention of voting for him.

The so-called establishment’s efforts to stop Trump have not had the desired impact so far. Now in these states, more voters say the party should rally behind Trump, should he continue to win primaries.

In Ohio, Kasich does well among voters who feel the economy is in good shape, but Trump is leading among those who feel the state’s economy is bad. And key for Kasich is that his approval rating as governor is extremely high — 80 percent among Republican primary voters — and he is seen by voters as prepared to be president, more so than Trump. That lets Kasich keep his home-state edge, unlike Rubio in Florida, where GOP primary voters are split on his performance as a U.S. Senator. In Florida, Rubio also is hampered by comparably low numbers of voters who see him as prepared to be President.

The biggest news here, of course, is the fact that Trump has as seemingly insurmountable lead over Marco Rubio in his home state, while Ohio Governor John Kasich appears to be holding on in Ohio and may actually pull off a win there, Those numbers are reflected in the new NBC News/Marist poll:

Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential field in the March 15 primary states of Florida and Illinois, while John Kasich holds the edge in his home state of Ohio, according to three new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

(…)

In Florida, Trump holds a 2-to-1 advantage among likely GOP voters over Marco Rubio, the state’s U.S. senator, 43 percent to 22 percent. They’re followed by Ted Cruz at 21 percent and John Kasich at 9 percent.

In Illinois, Trump gets the support of 34 percent of likely GOP primary voters, Cruz gets 25 percent, Kasich gets 21 percent and Rubio gets 16 percent.

But in Ohio, Kasich, the state’s incumbent governor, holds a six-point lead over Trump, 39 percent to 33 percent – followed by Cruz at 19 percent and Rubio at 6 percent.

Finally, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Trump leading by a wide margin in Florida and tied with Governor Kasich in Ohio:

Donald Trump holds a big lead over GOP presidential rival Marco Rubio in the senator’s home state of Florida while the businessman ties John Kasich in the governor’s home state of Ohio, according to a new poll.

Trump grabs 46 percent support in Florida on the eve of that state’s winner-take-all primary, where 99 delegates are at stake, in the Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.Rubio has 22 percent in the Sunshine State, followed by Ted Cruz at 14 percent and Kasich at 10 percent.

In Ohio, Trump and Kasich are tied at 38 percent each, with Cruz at 16 percent and Rubio at 3 percent, according to Quinnipiac polling.

Trump holds a 16-point lead over Rubio among likely female voters in the Florida primary, and 32-point lead among men.

The gender gap emerges in Ohio, too, with Trump leading among men by 13 points over Kasich. Women back the Ohio governor over Trump by 7 points.

Looking at the poll averages, Trump looks well-positioned in virtually every state up for grabs Tuesday night, and that the only real contests on the Republican side appear to be in Ohio and Missouri. In Florida, for example, RealClearPolitics shows Trump shows with a 18.7 point average lead, with Trump at 41.9%, Rubio at 23.2 %, Cruz at 19.1%, and Kasich trailing in fourth at 9.6%. Moreover, over the past two weeks every poll except two — from Mason-Dixon and Suffolk University — shows Trump with a double digit lead. Absent some massive surprise, then, Trump is likely to win Florida and all 99 of its delegates rather easily, and Marco Rubio will be faced with a devastating end to a once promising campaign. Trump also seems well positioned in North Carolina, where the two latest polls — from High Point University and Public Policy Polling — give Trump a double digit lead and RealClearPolitics shows gives him a 12.8 point lead at 41.3%, followed by Cruz at 28. 5%, John Kasich in third place at 11.3% and Marco Rubio in fourth place at 10.0%. Trump also seems well-positioned in Illinois, where RealClearPolitics gives him an 8.7 point lead over Ted Cruz, with an average of 35.0% to 26.3%. John Kasich comes in third place in the average in the Land of Lincoln at 18.3%, and Marco Rubio is once again in fourth place at 12.7%. As was the case last week, Missouri remains something of a mystery since there has been virtually no polling there at all, although some analysts have suggested that this is a state where Ted Cruz could do well given the fact that it has a non insubstantial population of evangelical voters among its Republican electorate.

Of all the states up tomorrow, though, the one that appears it will be close enough to keep people waiting for a final call well into the night tomorrow night. According to RealClearPolitics, Governor Kasich (36%) now has a slim 2.7 point lead over Donald Trump (33.3%), followed by Ted Cruz at 20.3% and Marco Rubio a virtual non-factor at 5.3%. The biggest movement here, of course, has been the fact that Governor Kasich has been able to do in his home state what Marco Rubio has failed to do and pose a real challenge to Donald Trump. Still, given how popular Kasich is a Governor at the moment the fact that he’s basically only able to draw a tie against a candidate like Trump shows a lot about how strong the Trump machine is. Nonetheless, if there’s one state other than Missouri that could ruin Donald Trump’s otherwise perfect night tomorrow, it could be Ohio.

With 99 delegates at stake in a Winner Take All primary, Florida is obviously the biggest prize of the night tomorrow night but given the polls it would be an incredible upset if Trump did now win, win big, and win early in the night. At that point, attention will shift to the remaining states and how they turn out will largely dictate the future direction of the race. If Trump manages to run the table and win all the states that are up for grabs then it will likely be the effective end of the race since such an outcome would put him so far ahead in the delegate hunt that it would be impossible to deny him the 1,237 delegate majority he would need to win the nomination. Even if Trump does lose a state or two tomorrow, most likely Ohio and/or Missouri, though, he will still be on a trajectory that could get him to 1,237 rather easily and at least will bring him very close to getting that number and making it next to impossible for Republican insiders to deny him the nomination without tearing the Republican Party apart.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    That Kasich can hold on to win his home state doesn’t bode well for him in the long run.
    That Rubio is in third place in his home state doesn’t bode well for his chances of lasting past Wednesday.
    That Trump can run the campaign he is running and still maintain a commanding lead doesn’t bode well for the Republican party, which already relies on gerrymandering, vote suppression, and incumbency to win elections.
    The Republican party used to be the party of stupid.
    Now it’s even more stupid…and violent.
    How much worse will it get?
    How much worse can it get?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  2. Jim R says:

    We already had Super Tuesday. How about some creativity? This could be Stupendous Tuesday, Scintillating Tuesday — or, if it seals the nomination for Trump, perhaps Shameful Tuesday or Sociopathic Tuesday..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Grewgills says:

    This is not a prediction, but I could see it going:
    Florida and North Carolina for Trump = 171 delegates
    Illinois and Missouri for Cruz = 121 delegates
    Ohio for Kasich = 66

    North Carolina isn’t winner take all and neither Illinois or Missouri are true winner take all, so that would blunt those numbers a bit, but I could still see Cruz emerging with about a 100 delegates and Trump emerging with less than 200. That wouldn’t be enough of a torpedo to knock Cruz out and Kasich will keep his vanity project going if he wins Ohio. Only Marco will be knocked out. I think Cruz and Kasich will attempt some unholy alliance to take the primary from Trump at the convention. I’m rooting for injuries.*

    * political ones, since Trump’s participation makes that distinction muddy

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    @C. Clavin:..How much worse will it get?
    How much worse can it get?

    Blonde in a Brown Shirt!
    Coulter: I’d like to see ‘a little more violence’ from Trump supporters.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/272864-coulter-id-like-to-see-a-little-more-violence-from-trump?ref=yfp

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Tyrell says:

    It looks like all this protesting and fussing may possibly have actually increase support for Trump. He is now ahead in Florida: Rubio’s back yard. It might be a backlash or something.
    Excuse my brevity on this. I am going through the annual time change lag and I feel like a box of bricks is on my head. Bad time too, with walk to wall basketball on every night. Time for another rest break.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. charon says:

    @Grewgills:

    Sam Wang has been doing some Monte Carlo simulations:

    http://election.princeton.edu/2016/03/14/a-kasich-win-in-ohio-helps-trump-indirectly/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    It looks like all this protesting and fussing may possibly have actually increase support for Trump.

    There is a sucker born every minute, so Trump’s natural constituency is bound to grow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Was Rubio ever AHEAD in Florida?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: I never heard about that. He sure should have been.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. CSK says:

    @bloated sack of protoplasm:

    Coulter lost a lot of her troglodytic supporters back in 2012 when she backed the effete backstabbing RINO liberal commie Mitt Romney for the presidency. She’s desperate to get them back, hence her frenzied boosting of Trump.

    I don’t think she’s sufficiently delusional as to believe she could become the fourth Mrs. Donald. She’ll be 55 this December, for Gawd’s sake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. PJ says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Was Rubio ever AHEAD in Florida?

    He was in the lead in a poll in October last year, but that poll had a massive 7 points margin of error due to only having a sample size of 163, and his lead was less than the moe, so I wouldn’t count that…

    There was a poll back in April last year which he led. But the moe was 5 points, and Bush was only 1 point behind. So I wouldn’t count that.

    He led a poll outside of the margin of error in March, but that was a scenario without Bush, in the two scenarios with Bush included, Bush was the first choice. So, I wouldn’t count that.

    ….

    There was a poll all the way back in January 2013 where he was in lead, the lead was bigger than the margin of error, and Bush was included…
    So, more than three years ago… But I’d count that.

    Yaaay!!!! ….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Deserttrek says:

    @C. Clavin: bigot

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  13. Kylopod says:

    @Tyrell:

    It looks like all this protesting and fussing may possibly have actually increase support for Trump. He is now ahead in Florida: Rubio’s back yard. It might be a backlash or something.

    Look at RCP’s average. Trump has been ahead in Florida for months. He’s been ahead throughout all of 2016. He was ahead last month. He was ahead before the recent protest controversy, and he’s still ahead now. But there is absolutely zero evidence from the polls that Trump’s support has increased in the past few weeks.

    As usual, you just spout off your opinions without taking a moment to check whether they align with the facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Davebo says:

    @Tyrell:

    If only there was some electronic device one could use to get a a clue as to what’s transpiring in politics….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Deserttrek:
    seriously? Saying anyone who supports Trump is a sucker makes me a bigot?
    The man says virtually nothing that is true.
    By definition that makes anyone who believes him a sucker, sucker.
    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. grumpy realist says:

    This is the best argument to attack Trump with, IMHO. That he’s a gullible idiot who will fall prey to every piece of brain-damaged crap on the internet that confirms his own biases AND NEVER CHECKS ANYTHING.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0