In a few weeks’ time, it’s possible that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will steamroll their way through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and dominate the so-called “SEC Primary” -- the collection of 13 mostly Southern states that will vote on March 1 -- horrifying many GOP elected officials and depriving any other candidate of a night to celebrate.Really? Tell me more.
Yet even if that happens, it’s still possible that Marco Rubio (or another more establishment-friendly candidate) could end up with the nomination, thanks to quirks of the GOP’s complex delegate math.
The GOP’s primary calendar is surprisingly front-loaded with states friendly to insurgents like Trump and Cruz. But because of Republican National Committee rules, all but one of these states will award their delegates on a proportional basis, intentionally making it difficult for any one candidate to build a durable or commanding lead.Florida, "which tend[s] to support more conventional Republicans"?
Instead, Florida and Ohio, which tend to support more conventional Republicans, are likelier to shape the race’s destiny than Iowa or South Carolina. That’s because they will award a whopping 99 and 72 delegates, respectively, in huge winner-take-all primaries on March 15.
Have you seen the latest polling from Florida, David?
Florida Republican poll Trump 48% (+12) Cruz 16% (+6) Rubio 11% (-7) Bush 10% (+1) Carson 3% (-12) https://t.co/82KM1fNHdB— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 20, 2016
In this poll, from Florida Atlantic University, Donald Trump is leading by 32 points. He and runner-up Ted Cruz combine for 64% of the vote. According to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, Trump leads Florida by 19.3 points. (Click to enlarge.)
And Wasserman thinks that lead is going to shrink if Trump comes into Florida looking like a winner after victories in February and early-March contests?
There hasn't been much polling in Ohio this year, but Trump was leading there in the last poll, well ahead of local boy John Kasich, who was in third place.
Clap louder, data journalists! Pay no attention to the actual polls!