Trump now has a path to victory ahead of the convention

Yesterday Donald Trump cleaned out 5 state primaries and pretty much hoovered up all available delegates.

He now sits on 950 delegates, just 287 short of the required 1237.

Nate Silver now has him ahead of predictions and now in with a shot of making the 1237 threshold:

Tuesday night went about as well as possible for Donald Trump.

Two weeks ago, after a rough stretch of states for Trump, we issued a series of delegate projections that included something called a “path-to-1,237” projection, a set of targets that would allow Trump to clinch a delegate majority without having to rely on uncommitted delegates. With Trump’s terrific results in New York last week and even better ones in the five states that voted on Tuesday, Trump is actually running a little ahead of the path-to-1,237.

Based on provisional results, it looks as though Trump will sweep every pledged delegate in Maryland (as a result of winning every congressional district), Connecticut (as a result of winning every congressional district and getting more than 50 percent of the vote statewide), Pennsylvania (where statewide delegates are awarded winner-take-all) and Delaware (ditto), along with 11 of 19 delegates in Rhode Island (which is highly proportional). Combined with the New York results,2 that gives Trump 200 delegates since we issued the path-to-1,237 projections, five delegates ahead of his original targets.

Most of the remaining states are winner-take-all, some with some tricky set ups but none as tricky as West Virginia. Still, Trump is now polling well over 50% in every state and in some states he is 16-28 points in front.

At the time we issued those delegate projections, Trump had yet to get 50 percent of the vote in any state and both his national polls and statewide results seemed stagnant. Now he’s gotten over 50 percent in six states in a row. Whereas Trump had once been a safe bet to underperform or, at best, match his polling averages, he’s beaten them in the last six states.

Having moved to a demographically favorable bloc of states is part of the equation, but not all of it. Compare Trump’s excellent result in Maryland (55 percent of the statewide vote) to his mediocre one in demographically similar Virginia on Super Tuesday (35 percent). Pennsylvania, where Trump got 57 percent of the vote on Tuesday, isn’t all that different from Illinois, where he got 39 percent on March 15. (The Pennsylvania result is especially important given that Trump also got favorable-seeming results among the 54 officially uncommitted delegates elected in the state on Tuesday night, which will give him a cushion if he falls a bit short of 1,237 pledged delegates.)

Trump has increased his vote. Kasich and Cruz are falling behind. They no longer have a path to victory; only Trump can make the threshold.

It seems that Indiana is key now.

Indiana is important not only because of its delegates, but also because it will give us an indication as to whether the apparent change in Republican attitudes is temporary or permanent. If Trump wins Indiana despite itsmiddling-to-fair (from his standpoint) demographics, he won’t quite be thepresumptive nominee because he’ll still need to follow through with a decent performance in California. But he’ll at least be in the liminal zone that Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time in, with the race not quite wrapped up mathematically but close enough that something (a gaffe, a scandal) would have to intervene to deny him the nomination. Incidentally, Trump’s potential support from the uncommitted delegates in Pennsylvania will give him more margin of error in that situation.

If Trump loses Indiana, however, that will suggest the race is still fairly volatile week-to-week, that he’s very likely to lose states such as Nebraska that vote later in May, and that the geographic and demographic divergences in the GOP haven’t reversed themselves so much as become more exaggerated. It will improve the morale of anti-Trump voters and change the tone of press coverage. And mathematically, it will make it hard (although not quite impossible) for Trump to win 1,237 delegates outright; he’d be back to fighting tooth-and-nail for every uncommitted delegate.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in Indiana. But Trump’s strong results over the past two weeks have changed the Hoosier State from potentially being “must-win” for Trump to probably being “must-win” for his opponents.

Cruz and Kasich came to their conspiracy to pervert the course of the election far too late. I believe that Trump now has momentum. It will be very hard to stop him.

 

– Fivethirtyeight


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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