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HUFFPOLLSTER: Republicans Face A Choice Between Nominating Donald Trump Or A Convention Fight

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Natalie Jackson
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The delegate math only supports two scenarios for the Republicans: a Trump nomination or a convention fight. Bernie Sanders faces almost insurmountable odds moving forward. And polls had a good night on Tuesday. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, March 15, 2016.

REPUBLICANS MIGHT BE HEADED FOR A CONTESTED CONVENTION - Ryan Grim, with HuffPollster: "The loss in Ohio makes it extraordinarily difficult -- Trump will need some 60 percent of the delegates left -- to get the 1,237 delegates he needs to lock up the nomination without a floor fight in Cleveland, which will host the Republican Convention in July. And that makes stopping Trump all the more doable. A handful of states, including delegate-rich New Jersey, have winner-take-all primaries, and others, like New York, award most of their delegates to the winner. They will help get Trump where he needs to be, but it will still be a tall order after Ohio." [ HuffPost ]

But there’s still a path for Trump to win outright - Nate Cohn: "Despite his loss in Ohio, Mr. Trump is positioned to make a serious run at earning an outright majority of delegates and avoid a contested convention….Mr. Trump’s large vote share in Florida was a pattern throughout the night. He got at least 39 percent of the vote in every contest except Ohio, where he faced its strong governor, John Kasich . The higher share of the vote for Mr. Trump is important because it’s the sort of tally that would easily allow him to win a three-way race. Mr. Trump’s loss in Ohio may have cost him a lot of delegates, but it may nonetheless help him from this point onward by assuring a true three-way race. Mr. Kasich will almost certainly stay in the race, which will help split the anti-Trump vote, especially in the blue states that predominate in the second half of the primary season." [ NYT ]

Rubio dropped out, but most of his delegates are probably stuck with him - HuffPollster: "Now that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has suspended his campaign, the next question is what happens to the 163 delegates he had amassed in the contests prior to Tuesday night…. The Republican Party allows states to set their own rules for delegate allocation when a candidate quits, so there are a lot of scenarios for delegate reallocation. Rubio’s delegates are from 19 states….In more than half of these states , the delegates will have to vote for Rubio in the first ballot at the Republican convention in July. A few more states require the delegates to vote for Rubio in the second ballot as well. [I]f no candidate has a delegate majority heading into the convention, 134 of Rubio’s delegates are bound to him for at least the first vote….Given the varying rules and relatively low number of delegates affected, Rubio’s exit won’t substantially affect the race. Most of his delegates will remain stuck with the failed candidate. " [ HuffPost ]

BERNIE SANDERS HAS A TOUGH NIGHT, TOUGHER ROAD AHEAD - Ryan Grim and Amanda Terkel: "The only plausible path [for Sanders] to a nomination comes through a string of major upsets -- and they would have to essentially be wipeouts big enough to deprive Clinton of delegates and cut into her sizable lead. Sanders showed in Michigan the unexpected is possible, but Tuesday's setbacks make that increasingly unlikely …. Clinton is far ahead in superdelegates , but if Sanders can keep her pledged delegate count below 50 percent, he can create at least a moment of anxiety on the convention floor, and extract some concessions from it. If he can't, he could still rack up enough delegates to be able to win some floor fights over the nature of the Democratic platform….The map ahead does, indeed, look tough for Sanders. After Tuesday, there are just five states left with more than 100 delegates to award. One of them is New York, which Clinton represented in the Senate (although Sanders' campaign has said they plan to compete there, citing the senator's Brooklyn roots). And only one of them, Washington, is a caucus state, which Sanders has tended to dominate." [ HuffPost ]

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POLLS HAD A GOOD NIGHT - After missing big in the Michigan Primary, polls fared much better on Tuesday. In the Democratic race they were dead on, producing estimates that all fell within 6 points of the final outcomes, an acceptable margin when you take undecideds into account.

Polls of the Republican race were pretty accurate as well. The biggest miss was in North Carolina, where polls underestimated Cruz's support and overestimated Rubio's, but polling was scarcer in North Carolina than in other states.

EXIT POLLS SHOW REPUBLICANS FEEL BETRAYED - Jennifer Agiesta and Tom LoBianco: “Clear majorities of Republican voters Tuesday said they felt betrayed by their party: In Ohio the number was 57%, and in North Carolina it was 56%. But that feeling did not necessarily translate into overwhelming numbers looking for outsider candidates, with 54% in North Carolina and 50% in Ohio saying they were looking for an outsider... Donald Trump won the support of Republicans looking for an outsider -- winning 65% of that group in North Carolina and 69% in Illinois. And Trump won support from voters who were angry with the government , including 53% in Illinois and 52% in Ohio. And in Florida, Trump won 55% of voters who said they felt betrayed by their party. ” [ CNN ]

Democrats concerned about the economy, want Obama’s policies continued - More from Agiesta and LoBianco: “Among Democrats, 81% said they were somewhat or very worried about the economy in Missouri and 75% in Ohio. A slight majority of Democrats in Ohio, 53%, said that trade costs the U.S. jobs, rather than creating them…. Majorities of Democrats in every state except Ohio said they would like to see the next president continue President Barack Obama's policies -- in Ohio, it was roughly half….Hillary Clinton's southern firewall -- and support among minorities -- held strong in Florida, where she won 73% of the 51% of voters who were non-white. In Ohio, Clinton won big among black voters (68% support) and voters who felt that international trade costs U.S. jobs (53%).” [ CNN ]

WHY GENERAL ELECTION POLL NUMBERS ARE FLAWED - Danielle Kurtzleben: “Donald Trump says he has good evidence he'd beat Hillary Clinton in a general election....And Bernie Sanders says he'd beat Trump….Sanders and Trump appear to be referring to head-to-head polling questions, in which pollsters give respondents hypothetical general election matchups.... Candidates love to cite these polls, but not every pollster thinks these data are useful. ‘When you get somebody on the phone, they'll answer your questions. The real issue is whether they really are considering their answer to that question,’ says Patrick Murray, founding director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. ‘And when it comes to those hypotheticals, they're not.’ The problem, he says, is that primary voters are not general election voters. And those general-election-only voters just aren't thinking about the election as seriously yet as those who are voting right now. ” [ NPR ]

WEDNESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Philip Bump finds that white voters helped Hillary Clinton win in Ohio. [ WashPost ]

-Barry Burden and Jordan Hsu say there's no evidence that high Republican turnout will help the GOP in the general election. [ WashPost ]

-Shane Ferro finds that Bernie Sanders is faring worse in states with a poor economy than those with a strong economy. [ HuffPost ]

-Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish  find  Donald Trump received 1.89 billion dollars worth of free media. [ NYT ]  

-Amber Phillips finds no signs of a Donald Trump effect in congressional primaries. [ WashPost ]

-The violent Trump rally in Chicago didn't appear to hurt him with Republicans [ HuffPost ]

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