Frontrunner Donald Trump has become more unpopular since the start of primaries in February, and now the convention calendar turns to more moderate-to-liberal states as the contest draws near completion. Will Trump’s decreasing popularity cost him the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright?
In January, the Huffington Post Pollster average of recent polls found that only 37 percent of voters view The Donald favorably, while 57 percent view him unfavorably. This was bad enough, but the most recent numbers (from Tuesday, March 29) show an even less popular frontrunner. Only 31.6 percent have a positive image of the man, while 63.3 percent dislike him. The gap has risen from negative 20 points to negative 31.7 points.
While Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are also viewed unfavorably, their numbers are nowhere near this bad. Only John Kasich and Bernie Sanders have positive approval ratings, and fewer Democrats and Republicans turn out to vote for them.
In the prediction market PredictWise, the likelihood that one GOP candidate will win a majority of the delegates has dropped from 50 percent to 38 percent. The odds that the contention goes into at least a second ballot have increased from 42 percent to 55 percent, even while the odds of Trump’s nomination remain high, dropping from 78 percent to 76 percent.
As the Republican primary nears its end, the states still to vote take a more liberal turn. In April, Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island vote. All of these states favored Barack Obama in 2012. In some of these states, the more moderate Kasich leads the conservative stalwart Cruz. Yet in one, Cruz has pulled ahead of Trump.
A recent poll has pushed up Ted Cruz’s average in Wisconsin, and he now leads Trump 33.0 percent to 32.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. This Cruz jump may be attributable, in part, to the endorsement of Governor Scott Walker. Trump leads strongly in his home state of New York, with 53.0 percent to Kasich’s 14.3 percent and Cruz’s 13.0 percent. Kasich also beats Cruz in Pennsylvania, where Trump leads with 34.5 percent to Kasich’s 20.0 percent and Cruz’s 18.5 percent.
Could Kasich’s presence keep Cruz from taking delegates away from Trump? Will Trump’s decreasing popularity cost him in the next three months? All three of the candidates have recently backed away from their pledge to support whichever candidate wins the nomination. The fracturing of the Republican Party continues apace, as Trump’s popularity falls, even as he still leads in the polls for many upcoming states.
Cruz thinks he will win the race, even while he badly trails Trump in the delegate count, with 463 delegates to Trump’s 736. Both Cruz and Kasich are also courting delegates to the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland, even as Trump has hired his own convention muscle, with close ties to Putin’s Ukrainian puppet, Viktor Yanukovych. If Trump falls short of 1,237 delegates, we’ll be in for one big show.