Republican Delegate Math Continues To Heavily Favor Donald Trump

Looking at the delegate math, Donald Trump's path to victory seems to be becoming clearer by the day.

Donald Trump Ted Cruz John Kasich
While the national and state polling that the media focuses on remains a worthwhile source of information about the current state of the race for President and where it may be headed in the last two and a half months of the race, we’re now at that point where the only numbers that really matter are the number of delegates that the candidates have accumulated, the number that they still need to obtain a majority, and the prospect that they’ll be able to get there given the primary calendar looking forward. Taking all of that into account, now seems to be as good a time as any to look at the numbers and see where the respective races stand.

First up, we’ll look at the Republican race, where party insiders are desperately hoping to stop Donald Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates he needs for a majority on the first ballot. The most recent example of that can be seen in the announcement overnight that Jeb Bush was endorsing Ted Cruz:

In a surprise announcement, Jeb Bush will endorse Ted Cruz on Wednesday as an antidote to the “divisiveness and vulgarity” of Donald Trump, providing a badly needed boost to the Texas senator – but it’s one that comes dangerously late in a game that Trump is dominating.

Cruz, in New York City on Wednesday, planned to celebrate with a victory lap of three network morning shows. The endorsement comes 32 days after a beaten Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential race, and eight days since Sen. Marco Rubio abandoned his own quest after being rebuffed by Bush, his fellow Floridian and one-time mentor.

Bush says in a statement to be released by the Cruz campaign: “Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests.”

“For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama’s failed policies,” the statement continues.

The news will surely irk Rubio, who could have benefited greatly from Bush’s embrace. But a Republican source said: “Jeb came to believe Marco was not up to the job of being President. It was never really under serious discussion.” POLITICO reported on Monday that Rubio had rejected the idea of joining a “unity ticket” with Cruz.

Bush and Cruz sealed the endorsement agreement with a phone call on Monday. “They have kept in touch over the last few weeks and Senator Cruz has been diligent about keeping Governor Bush up to date on his campaign,” a source close to Bush said.

While Bush’s announcement will surprise many, it’s unclear that it will have much of an impact on the race going forward. For one thing, Bush’s own position in the polls when he dropped out of the race makes it clear that his influence with voters may not be very strong at all. Second, there’s been very little indication in this race that endorsements of any kind have had much of an impact on the race at all. Bush himself had more endorsements than any other candidate and yet saw his campaign fizzle out spectacularly. In South Carolina, Marco Rubio had endorsements from several Members of Congress from the Palmetto State, along with the Governor and highly popular Senator Tim Scott, and yet he finished eleven points behind Donald Trump and only a few thousand votes ahead of Ted Cruz. In the current political climate, it appears, endorsements from sitting politicians don’t seem to mean very much at all. Finally, in news that is likely to cause headaches for the entire Stop Trump movement, new polling suggests that the second choice of most voters currently supporting either Ted Cruz or John Kasich is Donald Trump, which suggests that even getting Kasich out of the race may not be enough to stop Trump’s momentum at this point.

Taking into account last night’s primaries and caucuses, the current delegate count according to RealClearPolitics  and Politico gives Trump (739 delegates) a lead of 274 delegates over Cruz (465 delegates). More importantly, though, the night put Trump closer to the point where he will have the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot. As of today, there have been 1,537 delegates chosen on the Republican side of the race, with another 935 left to be chosen between now and June. So far, Donald Trump has won 739 delegates, which accounts for 48.08% of the delegates awarded to date in contests that have largely awarded delegates on a proportional basis. In order to win a majority, he would need to win another 498 delegates, which accounts for 53.26% of the remaining delegates to be chosen in contests that will largely award delegates on a Winner Take All basis. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, has won 465 delegates, which accounts for 30.25% of the delegates awarded to date. In order to get a majority, he would need to win another 772 delegates, which represents 82.57% of the remaining delegates. John Kasich, meanwhile, has only won 143 delegates and is already mathematically eliminated from winning a first ballot majority since he would need to “win” more delegates than remain outstanding.

Given these numbers, it is becoming harder and harder to see how Trump does not win a majority of delegates before the convention starts in Cleveland. After a brief respite, the contest picks back up again with a primary in Wisconsin that in many respects may be the last, best hope of the efforts of the GOP establishment and mainstream conservatives to halt Trump’s momentum. With 42 delegates at stake in a modified “Winner Take All” state that also awards some delegates based on a candidates performance in each of the state’s eight Congressional Districts, Wisconsin will go a long way toward determining if there is any hope left for Republicans who want to stop Trump from getting the majority he needs to win on the first ballot at the Convention. If Trump wins the state, then he will continue to add to his delegate lead while the odds for Cruz and “Stop Trump” crowd fall further behind. This is especially true given the fact that the calendar for the remainder of April, with contests in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island seems especially well suited for a candidate like Trump,ill-suited for Cruz, and simply too expensive to compete in for a candidate like John Kasich. There are then a handful of primaries in May, including in states such as Indiana, West Virginia, and Nebraska, followed by the end of the race in June where big prizes like California and New Jersey, both of which seem ideally suited for Trump, await. With a calendar like this, it’s hard to see how Donald Trump doesn’t at the very least come very close to winning the 1,237 delegates he needs if not winning them outright, while the “Stop Trump” crowd is left behind in a cloud of dust wondering just how it is that they managed to let this happen.

There’s a possibility all of this could change, of course, but at this point it seems as though that they only thing that would actually stop Donald Trump would be some kind of sea change in the race that causes the people who have been supporting him from the beginning to start peeling away from him. Since many of these people have been on his side for nearly ten months now, it seems increasingly unlikely that this is going to happen, or that there’s much of anything that Trump could say or do at this point that would blunt the momentum he’s had to date. Indeed, one could suggest that we are now at the point in the race where Republican voters are more likely to line up behind the apparent front runner than they are to support a candidate such as Ted Cruz whose odds of winning the nomination are minimal at best. Unless that changes soon, there really will be no stopping Donald Trump.

Update: The Democratic delegate math is even clearer.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Bob@Youngstown says:

    If the Republican establishment wants to throw a monkey wrench into the Trump juggernaut, they could do so through the convention rules committee.

    As I understand it, the RNC really is opposed to states with ‘open primaries’, they could refuse to credential delegates derived from that process.

    As I understand it, the RNC is opposed to “winner take all” state delegations, they could simply force states to apply proportionality.

    While tinkering with the rules (after the primaries and caucuses are over) may seem to be unfair game play, the fact is that the RNC has that right to do so.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    The delegate math may favor Trump…but for Republicans math and science are anathema.
    I’m not sure how they stop this clown at this point, but I don’t think there is any question that they must…or witness the demise of the GOP. Maybe they can score the delegates using dynamic tracking, like they do to hide the damage their tax cuts will inflict to the economy.

    Cruz is no better, and in some cases worse. When the NYPD rushes out to call you “foolish”…that’s a problem.

    I’m not a big fan of Romney’s either…but he had a really funny line about Trumps foreign born wives:

    “…See, there are jobs Americans won’t do…”


  3. Pch101 says:

    Trump doesn’t have a majority of the delegates to date.

    Many of the remaining states are winner-take-all or include some winner-take-all component.

    If some other candidate — which one it is doesn’t matter — wins some of those winner-take-all states, then no one will have a majority.

    Following the first vote at the convention, most of the delegates become unbound, so they will be able to vote for whomever they want. (Rule 40 should limit their choices to those candidates who won majorities in at least eight states, but that can be amended or repealed if there is enough support to do so.)

    As I’ve noted, a few of the larger states could change the outcome. If Trump can be denied California and a few other states with a lot of winner-take-all delegates, then that would be enough.

  4. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Cruz is trying to out-Trump Trump with the business about the patrols.

    And I agree that Romney line was funny.

  5. C. Clavin says:


    Cruz is trying to out-Trump Trump with the business about the patrols.

    Yes…but he’s eating $hit and back-pedaling today.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Good. last I heard he was still all in. And WTF did “secure” mean?

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Paul Ryan, one of the most mendacious mf’ers on the planet gave a speech calling for Trump and Cruz to maintain

    “…the highest standards of integrity and decency…”

    Now, coming from him…that’s too ironical to believe.

  8. Scott says:

    @C. Clavin: @gVOR08:

    Obama from a press conference in Argentina, kind of a smackdown:

    “As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance,” Obama said. “Which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America. The land of the free.

  9. Dumb Brit says:

    The Ginger Panda seems to have sewn up the No Nothing vote!

  10. Nearly as importantly, Ted Cruz’s path to 1237 is getting harder and harder. As of this morning he needs 82% of the remaining delegates. Barring a miracle by the morning of April 27th Cruz will need more than 100% of the then-remaining delegates. Like it or not, I think the race changes pretty substantially at that point – especially since Trump will have 7 more weeks of the primary to relentlessly hammer home that Cruz has no mathematical chance of winning the nomination. And the media will help him tell that story because it will be true.

  11. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    Is there any polling showing the number of Trump supporters at the caucuses and primary elections who have not voted in recent contests or never voted before?
    I am sure all those who favor compulsory balloting (or be punished) are welcoming these new electors into the political process!
    WHAT?!? You’re not so thrilled?
    Maybe U should watch out what U wish for!

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @bloated sack of protoplasm:

    Is there any polling showing…

    I don’t know about that…but there is new polling analysis from the WaPo that says a healthy majority of Trump supporters feel that it is whites who are the victims of racism.

    “Which of these do you think is a bigger problem in this country — blacks and Hispanics losing out because of preferences for whites, or whites losing out because of preferences for blacks and Hispanics?”


    …A majority of Trump supporters — 54 percent — believe the bigger problem is whites are losing out. Meanwhile, 37 percent of Trump’s supporters believe this strongly…

    So you can come up with all the rationalizations for Donald Trump that you want…at the end of the day it’s all about entitled white folks being against “the others”. Now this is nothing new in the GOP…it’s just the same ol’ noise…but turned up to eleven. What does go unexplained is why they think Trump can do anything about it???
    (the entire Trump campaign reminds me of Jenos…the perpetual whiny victim)

  13. Pch101 says:

    @Russell Newquist:

    At this point, it isn’t about getting Cruz or Kasich to 1237 (which is impossible) but of preventing Trump from getting to 1237. Given the circumstances, the best outcome for Trump’s opponents is a brokered convention, not an outright win.

    The challenge at that point would be to select a nominee who didn’t win the plurality. That should make for great political drama.

  14. J-Dub says:


    The challenge at that point would be to select a nominee who didn’t win the plurality. That should make for great political drama.

    The Republican leadership would prefer not to give it to the second place finisher either, making for even more drama. Pass the popcorn…

  15. Pch101 says:


    Adding to the entertainment value, it would be necessary to rescind Rule 40, which was intended to make it more difficult for a contender who had minimal support to challenge Romney for the 2012 nomination.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @J-Dub: Which is why Romney and Little Jebbie! endorsed Cruz and Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver, is suddenly trying to sound reasonable and moderate. Once it’s a free for all at the convention, anyone has a chance.

  17. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    @C. Clavin:..So you can come up with all the rationalizations for Donald Trump that you want…

    Who ? Me?

  18. charon says:

    Link says it will be difficult for Trump to get to 1237.

    Some of his “pledged” delegates are not all that secure, either – Cruz has been talking to Georgia delegate trying to pry them away Ron Paul style – the relevant legalities or rules vary from state to state.

  19. Dave Francis says:


    To take the White House in 2016 Republicans must nominate a candidate who we know will govern according to constitutional principles, a hard-liner who and have no allegiance GOP RINO’s or the Democratic sour cream? Trump who is capable of drawing a clear disparity gap with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats on the issues of importance in today’s political environment, and who has the intellect, ability and discipline and a unique toughness to fight Hillary Clinton and win. That candidate is Donald Trump because he will throw at her Whitewater, Benghazi, and the money laundering foundation and at Bill Clinton for all his immoral acts against young women.

    In the latest ISIS atrocities in Belgium, America needs a strong, unyielding leader as a President Trump. He is not going to hold back like this extreme Liberal President that is on the way out. Nobody will forget the huge deficit he left us with and his elongated golf vacations while millions of Americans have faced unrelenting poverty, or job losses. I am not playing along with a rigged convention, nor am I voting for Kusick or Cruz who have to pay back the campaign donors with their votes, once they have their coronation. And when either claims the Oval office their benefactors will say no and that they need that cheap labor from Mexico. These profiteers don’t care about our National Security even though Middle Eastern coins and prayer mats have been found within our border.

    ONLY Donald Trump is going to build a serious wall, which will certainly inhibit daily surges of illegal aliens and the drugs that are killing our children. Trump found out that New Hampshire has a terrible epidemic of cheap heroin, which is devastating the state. Obama has offered an open door to illegal immigration, just given them a free pass to this Presidents welfare state where everybody get free healthcare, low income housing, cash payments. Both Sanders wants to offer the same public assistance, including free education.

    All those multi-millions of people who don’t normally vote, including me and turned out for Trump will also walk away and not vote, if they try to use a sly means through Republican Rule 40 or something to modify it for Cruz and Kasick advantage and then nefarious criminal Hillary Clinton and her female predator husband will be back in the White House. Now Ted Cruz says almost nothing about his wife, who is a director at the Investment company Goldman Sachs, where Cruz got a loan of a million dollars.

    Cruz chooses dirty games to try and sway voters and stealing Ben Carson’s chance of the presidency. Then John Kusick, Hillary Clinton took money from anti-American, anti-sovereignty George Soros, who also poured money into the arranged demonstration in Chicago and Arizona ugliness.

    Only Cruz, other than Trump has something to say about the border, about building a fence which has very limited enforcement. Kasich has no plan for the border disaster and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to keep the borders wide open. Trump has just won Arizona voting public that has been under a tremendous strain for years, and millions of illegal aliens have poured through the gaping areas, where nothing exists, but a few rusty strands of barbed wire. Trumps wall will be a major enforcement of concrete and steel stretching as he says 1000 miles, but obviously not needed at natural obstacles.

    Washington, D.C., June 19, 2014: A new study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that providing education, health care, law enforcement, and social and government services to illegal aliens and their dependents costs Californians $25.3 billion per year according to FAIR’s report The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on California Taxpayers. The state’s 3 million illegal aliens and their 1.1 million U.S.–born children cost the average California household — headed by a U.S. citizen — $2,370 annually.

    Protecting the jobs and wages of American workers is a clear objective of U.S. immigration policy. Immigration has been outpacing job growth in the U.S. for decades and is a contributing factor to unemployment, wage attrition, and declining labor force participation. Between 2000 and 2014, two new immigrants were admitted to the United States for every new job that was created by our economy. Between 2007 and 2015, all net new jobs created by the U.S. economy were filled by immigrants, legal and illegal. During the ten-year period between 2005 and 2015, large-scale immigration swelled the ranks of working age adults by 25 million, while the number of people employed in the U.S. grew by just 7 million.

    There is no labor shortage in the United States. Lower skilled American workers have seen the sharpest declines in income. Since 1970, real income for the bottom 90% of workers in the U.S. has declined by 8%. Higher skilled workers are increasingly undermined by mass immigration and guest worker programs. Employers can hire H-1B workers, even when American workers are available or even lay-off U.S. workers in order to hire H-1B workers. There is a popular perception that companies can only hire H-1B guest workers if American workers are not available, and that they are barred from laying-off American workforce and replacing them with foreign workers. These perceptions are bogus. Guest worker programs are riddled with loopholes written by business lobbyists that allow their clients to bring in foreign workers pretty much at will. Current examples of companies laying off U.S. workers and forcing them to train their foreign replacements include Disney and Southern California Edison, that’s if the company like Carrier is moving to Mexico and stealing more jobs from Americans. The Obama government is blatantly abusing executive authority to make an end-run around statutorily mandated limits on foreign workers

    Both Political Parties run by their donors will keep pledging to end illegal alien invasion but it will not happen unless Trump enters the WHITE HOUSE.

  20. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    …Obama government is blatantly abusing executive authority…

    All Typhoid Trump wants to do is “open up the libel laws” so he can imprison any newhound that would trash his comb-over.

  21. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:..While tinkering with the rules (after the primaries and caucuses are over) may seem to be unfair game play, the fact is that the RNC has that right to do so.

    See Fresh Air today.

    …ultimately, political parties, according to the Supreme Court, are basically semipublic or even private organizations and they can nominate their candidates as they please. And the only real intervention the Supreme Court has made in this is to say you can’t violate somebody’s civil rights in the process. But in terms of making up your own rules of how you do things, the courts have given political parties pretty much free range. So this is controlled by parties, not by law.
    Primary Politics Elaine Kamarck

  22. Gustopher says:

    @bloated sack of protoplasm: I’m watching the Republican Party fall apart. I’m not just thrilled, I’m delighted.

    If Trump were significantly worse on the issues than Cruz or Rubio, I might not be so tickled by his success, but it’s like someone pulled off the mask of the Republicams and revealed that the lizard people have orange skin and hair.

    Either Trump or Cruz as President would be a disaster for this country. Trump as candidate would be a disaster for his party, and might be the disaster that reigns in he party’s excesses.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Dave Francis: TL; DR.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: I’d enjoy the schadenfreude over the Republican train wreck lot more if I weren’t afraid of a lot of collateral damage.

  25. Barry says:

    @Pch101: “The challenge at that point would be to select a nominee who didn’t win the plurality. That should make for great political drama.”

    Methinks that you need a stronger word that ‘drama’ 🙂

  26. Grewgills says:

    How likely is it that Kasich will have enough delegates at the end to swing a first ballot vote to Cruz? It seems pretty likely that if Kasich were to drop out at the last minute, leave his delegates uncommitted, and throw his support behind Trump that would be plenty for a first ballot win. I think Trump will find his price. From the look on Christie’s face, he sold cheap.

  27. DrDaveT says:

    the second choice of most voters currently supporting either Ted Cruz or John Kasich is Donald Trump

    That is totally disturbing. It’s like saying that you would prefer to be a pimp, but your fallback is serial killer.

  28. Grewgills says:

    In that analogy, Cruz would be the serial killer, Trump the pimp, and Kasich I’m not sure, maybe prostitute. It’s disturbing to either choose or fall back to any of them.

  29. Pch101 says:


    Kasich is establishment GOP. He won’t be supporting Trump.

  30. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    @bloated sack of protoplasm:..newshound

    (jesus, I’m as blind as a fvcking bat)

  31. MBunge says:

    @C. Clavin: Trump supporters feel that it is whites who are the victims of racism.

    If they think whites have it tougher than blacks, they are wrong. They’re not crazy, however, to notice a double-standard on race and culture that cuts against them.


  32. Grewgills says:

    Maybe not, but I don’t trust him not to sell out for the VP slot and claim to be a moderating influence on the ticket, sort of like a reverse Palin. Maybe he’ll stick to his principles or maybe he’ll prostitute himself. I wouldn’t put much money on either scenario.

  33. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: While it’s a cute line, Mitt is even wrong about that. Wikipedia informs us that wife number two, Marla Maples, was born in Dalton, GA–a part of the USA to the best of my knowledge.

  34. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: What collateral damage would a Trump administration give us? I mean, compared to a Cruz administration, or any of the Republicans that might have been a contender were it not for Trump?

    Is Trump any more likely to be elected President than anyone else who could get through the Republican primaries?

    Trump frightens me about the same as the others, a little less than Cruz. Plus I get to enjoy some schadenfreude. That’s a win-win. That’s a deal only Trump can provide.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: IMHO either Trump or Cruz as president would easily knock W back to second for worst president since Buchanan. But barring a crisis or scandal in the next 7-1/2 months, that’s not going to happen. Kasich probably wouldn’t be as big a bloody disaster, but my Gov is just Scott Walker with a better line of patter.

    But we were talking about schadenfreude over the breakup of the Republican Party. First, I don’t think it will happen. Rs are kiss up, kick down people. They’ll fall in line behind Trump, Cruz, or Joe Blow who happened to be walking past the convention center in Cleveland at the wrong time and got drafted as a compromise candidate on the 212th ballot. Then they’ll lose and the base will fall back to bemoaning their failure to nominate a True Conservative ™ while the establishment will go back to manipulating the base.

    If the party does break up, my biggest fear is that the base will form a far right, nativist Republican Party and the establishment will gravitate to the Dems. We end up with a center-right party called Democrats and a far right Republican party still holding some confederate and cowboy states and seats in congress.

    No matter what happens we end up with an energized, delusional, core of resentful and destructive Trump, nee Reagan, Democrats.

    Establishment? IMHO we have at least two wings of R establishment, the “establishment” establishment and the Koch Bros establishment (for lack of a better term). If the party breaks, it will be along those lines, with the Koch Bros going with the base, and continuing to fund and manipulate them.