Presidential election minus 32 weeks

A thread for discussion of the US presidential primaries, in which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton enjoyed big victories this week.

After a week that saw Marco Rubio drop out of the Republican race, Donald Trump winning an emphatic victory in Florida on top of narrower wins in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, Republican also-ran John Kasich scoring what will probably be his only win in his home state of Ohio, and Hillary Clinton enjoying a clean sweep over Bernie Sanders in all the aforesaid states, here’s a new thread for discussion of the ongoing US presidential election campaign.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

33 comments on “Presidential election minus 32 weeks”

  1. It’s still unclear whether Trump can reach a 1237 majority of delegates. He needs more than half the remaining delegates from here, but in most recent contests he got only 40-45% of the vote. However, there are some more winner-take-all states such as Arizona next week that will give him a boost, and he might go up a few points from Rubio’s exit. It looks like he will go close.

    Normally at about this stage when there’s a clear front-runner and no one else left has a realistic path to a majority, the upcoming states get behind the front-runner to give him an emphatic victory going into the convention. That might not happen with the divisive, polarizing Trump, but I fear that it will happen enough to push him over the line.

  2. Triton
    The sad reality is that Trump is BETTER than Cruz. Hard to believe but it is true. Kasich is the only sane candidate left.

  3. daretotread, Trump is to the left of Cruz, but in many ways is far more dangerous and he has some abhorrent policies on immigration and the use of torture. I think the biggest problem is his temperament. He’s thin-skinned and impulsively lashes out at any critic. The thought of him with the nuclear codes if some country offends him is truly frightening.

    At least we know what we’d get with Cruz, and he’s probably unelectable against Clinton if he wins the nomination and she survives the email investigation. But I couldn’t guess the outcome if it’s Trump v. Clinton just because anything could happen.

    I agree that Kasich is the only sane one left, so of course he’s coming last and has no chance.

  4. Apologies – my last post was from January 27 – I thought it was current. However, the sentiments expressed are probably stronger and more urgent now there are only 3 GOP candidates left.

  5. triton

    Tes trump on immigration is abhorrent but on Torture I would think there would be no real difference between Trump and Cruze. on international relations give me trump over cruze because i prefer an isolationist to a crazed warmonger.

    However you are right relative to Hilary. Hilary is much more likely to beat Cruze than Trump probably, however Cruze would cut into Hilary’s latino support to some extent.

  6. dtt

    [however Cruze would cut into Hilary’s latino support to some extent.]

    I’m not certain this would be the case. Here is Cruz’s stance on illegal immigrants from Mexico (from his own campaign):

    “Build a wall that works. The unsecured border with Mexico invites illegal immigrants, criminals, and terrorists to tread on American soil. I will complete the wall. ”

    “The U.S. should deport all 12 million illegal immigrants now here.”

    On this issue, not a lot of daylight between Cruz and Trump.

  7. If Trump doesn’t get the majority of the delegates, then the Republican Party establishment can take control.

    Let me try to find some articles I read earlier… they said that the delegates Trump wins have to vote for him in the first ballot. But, the actual delegates themselves in most states are appointed by the state parties! So if there’s a second ballot, then the party can stack the convention in favour of another candidate.

    I also have heard that Cruz, being better prepared, has got some of his supporters elected as Trump delegates. So again after being bound in the first vote they will switch sides.

  8. Cruz is far more dangerous than Trump as he actually believes the shit he says. Still, Trump’s a hack that’ll bring ruin upon the USA & the Global economy if he gets elected as president (which he won’t)

  9. The “GOP Establishment” despises Cruz as much as Trump. As a serving Senator, Cruz has alienated most GOP members of Congress. This is not an easy thing to do, but Cruz (the consummate asshole) has managed to achieve this.

  10. Trump has been on another Twitter rant against Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly over the past few days, calling her ‘crazy’ and ‘unwatchable’. In past rants he’s called her a bimbo and “so average in every way”. He still hasn’t gotten over that question in the first debate last August when she had the temerity to repeat his own words back to him (and 24M viewers).

  11. triton
    He is so scared of her that he pulled out of the next Fox debate.
    Her last debate effort (Fox debate V2) was pretty ordinary tho’.

  12. Well, she got him on a number of backflips and on Trump University. His claim that the Better Business Bureau gave it an ‘A’ was highly misleading, and he told a bald-faced lie later that they faxed him the rating during a commercial break in the debate. BTW, that was actually Fox Debate V3. Trump didn’t turn up for V2 either.

  13. Kasich is by far the most palatable of the remaining three, but he is too far behind. An endorsement from Rubio would be wasted. Stopping Trump is the priority. Cruz is best placed to do that, and the Democrats know how to beat him.

  14. Triton
    That seems to be the consensus. But the duty of the convention, once contested., is surely to nominate the candidate most likely to win. If Kasich is still standing, and has some more state wins, he is In With a shot

  15. Regarding Trump, most of the remaining Republican State votes are winner takes all formats at the State or district level. This means the winner (probably Trump) will get most of the delegates. Given that, it is easily possible for Trump to get a clear majority for the conference. Nate Silver discusses this on his blog.

  16. I guess it depends on how uniform the voting is between districts. The more uniform the better for Trump if he leads in the state. I don’t know about the upcoming states, but watching the counts of past states on cable news there’s been a fair bit of variation in the vote for each candidate across a given state, as you’d expect, just like the variation here between polling booths in the same electorate.

  17. There is a cracker of an article on the US primaries, Trump and the future of the GOP in the ‘Weekend Australian’.

    It is by Henry Ergas.

  18. Some of the polls being used to estimate final delegates have quite paltry samples. The recent NY one had somethin like 290 people. I am pretty sure the last Californian one still had Rubio as an option and only 400 sample with 10% undecided.

    Head to heads showing Trump being clearly and regularly beaten by Clinton (and smashed by Sanders). They show Cruz just behind Clinton (Sanders smashing him too). And Kasich a handy (but unreliable IMO) lead to Clinton.

  19. Some polling has Ted Cruz slightly over 50% in Utah, which would give him all 40 delegates and put a fair dent in Trump’s ability to reach a majority. However, I wonder if the Brussels attacks have thrown a spanner in the works for Cruz. Trump might gain a few points for his anti-Muslim rhetoric, which could be enough to keep Cruz under 50%.

  20. Triton

    Cruz thrashed Trump in Utah but was beaten by trump in Arizona.

    On balance I think Trump will not quite make the 50% mark for delegates and it will be a brokered convention. However we will need to wait a whole month before we get any further updates. There is Wisconsin but NY is the biggie.

    However the Democrats are facing a dilemma. Hilary is doing great in the South, but these are red states and she has no chance of winning them in the final election. They really do not matter in the final election. She is NOT doing as well in the swing states or blue states.

  21. Actually I need to remove that last comment.

    Hilary is actually doing very well in the handful of swing states. Florida is probably the key.

  22. Cruz is polling ahead in Wisconsin. FiveThirtyEight gives him an 81% chance of winning, and its 42 delegates are winner-take-all. With Trump going to be close to 1237 at worst, it could be crucial. But it’s a couple of weeks away so things could change.

  23. Actually, sites are calling Wisconsin winner-take-all, but there are 8 districts that have 3 WTA delegates each, plus 18 for the state winner. So it is possible for Trump to win some delegates if he loses the state.

  24. triton

    I have limited confidence in those US polls.

    Their sample sizes seem tiny.

    Also the USA seems to be far, far more diverse than Australia. I mean in Australia if there is a swing on it might be a bit stronger in some places but you do not get the sort of extra-orsinary differences you got on Tuesday with Crus polling 67% in Utal and 24% in Arizona.

  25. dtt

    [However the Democrats are facing a dilemma. Hilary is doing great in the South, but these are red states and she has no chance of winning them in the final election. They really do not matter in the final election. She is NOT doing as well in the swing states or blue states.]

    Doesn’t matter. Makes no difference when it comes to the general election.

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