Trump's path forward is clearing
The Super Tuesday results confirmed what was evident in the polls by late Sunday, and what was crystal-clear by Monday evening: the Trump train is unstoppable, and the GOP nomination is his.
That is, unless the hysterical scorched-earth policy underway by some Republican factions – best exemplified by almost everything written at National Review over the past few days – results in some gamesmanship in Cleveland during July. This, if it occurs, would ensure an easy general election win for Hillary Clinton – whose performance yesterday also assured her of her party's nomination – and forever doom the credibility of the Republican Party.
Trump took 7 of the 11 states on Super Tuesday and so far has won 10 of 15. The only real surprise of the night was in Oklahoma. Polling data was consistently predicting a Trump victory. In the past week, all three polls had Trump out front by nearly double digits, with Rubio in second on two of the three polls. The one poll with Cruz in second at 23% saw Trump at 35%, with his largest predicted lead in the state, and Rubio just behind Cruz at 22%.
Somehow Cruz got to 34% even though no poll ever put him above this 23% benchmark, and the other two polls had him down at 18% and 20%. The results in the Sooner State are bizarre. At least Iowa showed a dead heat between Trump and Cruz immediately before the primary resulted in a narrow 3% victory for Cruz. But the Oklahoma polls averaged a 13% lead by Trump over Cruz right up until the last minute, not the 6% Cruz victory that occurred. That's a nearly 20% relative swing across three separate polls by three different organizations within a week of the vote.
Oklahoma aside, the remainder of the polling data was solid in predicting the Trump landslide. He now holds 285 delegates, while the remainder of all the candidates still in the race total 281.
The road ahead will only get tougher for Cruz and Rubio and easier for Trump. Cruz cannot win significant numbers of states along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and Rubio doesn't appear likely to fare well regardless of location. Only Trump is capable of winning across all the regions.
Multiple recent Michigan polls give Trump a big lead, upwards of 32% over Rubio. Similarly, Trump has a 13% advantage over Rubio in Kentucky, with Cruz in third. Florida – a monster winner-take-all state – shows the latest polling data with a 20% Trump lead over Rubio and Cruz down at just 10%.
In Illinois, Trump is up by 17% over Rubio. Trump leads by 10% in Wisconsin, 3% in Pennsylvania, 5% in Ohio, and 27% in New Jersey.
Surely these numbers will change as the primaries get closer, but the storyline is consistent state by state: “Trump leads.” There will be surprises like Oklahoma, but not the whole way forward into the convention.
Just imagine the absurdity of a candidate winning perhaps upwards of 80% of all the states or more (and at least severalfold more victories than any of his nearest rivals) and somehow not being the nominee. Well, don't imagine – just go to National Review and read the fantasies.