News & Politics

Be Careful When Talking About Head-to-Head Poll Results in Wisconsin

Recently, the media and the Twidiots have been buzzing about how Senator Ted Cruz has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin primary is tomorrow and since the GOP nomination race is still very  much in play, every little development takes on epic proportions.

The latest polls show Cruz leading by 5, leading by 6, leading by 10, and leading by 7 in Wisconsin. This doesn’t really matter as much as you think. Let me tell you why.

More than half of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates are determined in a winner-take-all by congressional district competition. So the winner of each congressional district gets three delegates and there are eight congressional districts.

A candidate could very well win the popular vote and lose the delegate count, depending on where his geographic support is located.

Here is map of Wisconsin’s congressional districts:

Wisconsin_Congressional_Districts,_113th_Congress.tif

Now, because none of the three candidates are reasonably close to the 1,237 threshold and it’s possible none of them will get there, the delegate count is where the emphasis needs to be in the primary — not on “winning” states. Cruz has to close the gap on the overall delegate count more than he has to worry about strict popular vote outcomes.

If Cruz wins the popular vote but doesn’t lock down enough congressional districts, Trump could win more delegates, extending his delegate lead. Although if Cruz is trying to keep Trump from 1,237, as he should  be, the smaller Trump’s lead the better because the pressure will continue to mount on Trump to a win a larger and larger percentage of delegates with each future primary if he wants to get to 1,237.  This is all assuming Trump does leave Wisconsin with more delegates than Cruz.

Are the campaigns on the Wisconsin ground evaluating their tracking polls in each congressional district to figure out where to allocate resources to nail down the vote? I don’t know about the Trump camp, but I’m certain the Cruz team is doing this and I’m inclined to believe he will lead the delegate count via congressional districts at the end of the election. Anything is possible, as all of the campaigning “rules” have been broken for 2106. Traditional GOTV efforts don’t seem to be working, so it might not matter that the Cruz team has done its mathematical homework. We’ll see.

What about the other delegates, the ones not chosen by victories in congressional districts?
The winner of a plurality of the popular vote in Wisconsin gets all of the 15 at-large and three automatic delegates.  Since Cruz is leading in the head-to-head polls, this also bodes well for him in the final delegate count, if he can secure the congressional district vote.

For the big picture, it’s not a win if the delegate count is close or tied, despite who gets the most popular vote in the state.