Updated 3/24/2016 to reflect the results of 3/22/2016 in Arizona and Utah and the finalization of previous contests. Net results after 3/22 Trump -5 Cruz +40 as a result (mostly) of the Utah race.
Bad news for supporters of Ted Cruz in the 2016 Presidential nominating contest. Cruz may be mathematically eliminated as early as April 19, 2016 and there is a nearly 100% chance he will be eliminated by April 26, 2016. And at that point, Cruz will have zero chance of being the Republican nominee. It is a matter of simple mathematics.
The magic number of delegates remaining that Donald Trump and John Kasich need to win in order to eliminate Cruz as the nominee is 211. (Kasich is already mathematically eliminated.) And keep in mind that a number of the delegates are unbound, meaning they are not required to vote for any particular candidate at the Convention. So the 211 figure includes the unbound delegates and once 211 bound delegates are won by Trump and Kasich, Cruz will be eliminated no matter how the unbound vote. And even if Cruz were to win all of the unbound delegates, which will not happen, he still cannot reach the 1,237 majority to win the nomination.
Let’s take a look at the numbers and the upcoming contests.
It takes a total of 1,237 delegates plus a majority of delegates in at least 8 states to win the nomination going in to the Republican Convention. (More on the 8 states later.)
At this point, after the March 15 Super Tuesday Part 3 where Trump won 5 of the 6 contests, the delegate count stands at 673 for Trump and 411 for Cruz. Since Kasich is already mathematically eliminated, his only role is spoiler, so we will not worry about his numbers for the scope of this article. A caveat here. Missouri has been declared for Trump and the delegate allocation has been awarded by the GOP as 37 for Trump and 15 for Cruz. However, since the totals in Missouri are within the range for a recount, and some issues seem to remain even though 100% of the precincts have reported, most news organizations are awarding Trump 25 delegates and Cruz 5 pending the final outcome. So if Missouri stands as the GOP has called it, Trump actually has 685 delegates and Cruz has 421. So we could be looking at 221 for the Cruz elimination number. But for now, we will stick with the 211 number.
There are 1,026 delegates remaining (including a number of unbound). In order to win, Trump needs 544 of the 1,026 and Cruz needs 815.
The next contests are on Tuesday March 22. They are in Arizona and Utah.
March 22, 2015
There are not a lot of polls in Arizona but the two that exist, both taken this month, show Trump with a 12 point and a 14 point lead. In the older polls going back to August, 2015 Trump has held a double digit lead in 5 of the 6 polls, with only 1 poll showing a lead for another candidate, which was Carson. Arizona is a winner take all state and the popular former Governor Jan Brewer has endorsed Donald Trump. Based on the polls, Trump should win all 58 Arizona delegates. Subtract this number from the 211 needed to eliminate Cruz and the magic number for the block is 153.
Utah is a proportional state with 40 delegates. There are 2 polls, one from January and one from February. These polls show Rubio, Cruz and Trump are all very close, within the margin of error. One poll has Rubio up 2 points and the other has Cruz up 1 point. Kasich was in the low single digits. Carson was in the mix in January and February and is gone. And Rubio was doing well in the state and is also gone. It is hard to say where the votes will go, but as this is a proportional state, we may be looking at a pretty even outcome and Cruz may have a chance of a win here. But it is proportional. Utah awards all 40 delegates if one candidate receives 50% or more. Since none of the candidates polled higher than 24%, it is not likely one candidate will take all of the delegates. The most likely scenario will have the remaining 3 candidates split the delegates. As long as Kasich receives at least 15%, we will split the votes evenly 3 ways with the winner receiving 14 and the other 2 receiving 13 delegates each. Let’s assume Cruz wins Utah and we give him the extra delegate. Which means the magic number to eliminate Cruz is 153 minus the total delegates for Trump and Kasich combined (26) which comes to 127.
Delegate Count After 3/22/2016:
Needed to eliminate Cruz – 132
April 5, 2016
Wisconsin is the lone state holding a primary on April 5. They have a total of 42 delegates allocated by 8 congressional districts and another 18 goes to the statewide winner. Each Congressional District gets 3 delegates in a winner take all by district. Polls are about the same as Utah so we don’t have a lot of data to go on (1 in January and 1 in February). But Trump was leading in both polls by 6 and 10 points. Rubio was second and Cruz was third in both. Carson was still in and polling around 8. Again, it is hard to say where the Rubio and Carson votes go, but Kasich is not likely to win any congressional districts as of today. But we will award the 18 to Trump as the likely state wide winner and while I think Cruz may win 2 or 3 congressional districts, let’s give him 4 here. So Trump wins 30 delegates and Cruz 12.
Delegate Count After 4/5/2016:
Needed to eliminate Cruz – 102
April 19, 2016
Donald Trump’s home state. A brand new poll out today shows Donald Trump with a commanding 52 point lead. Trump is at 64% with Cruz in second at 12%. Kasich is at 1%. New York is a proportional state with 3 delegates per congressional district. The threshold to award delegates is 20%. Even if we are generous and say Cruz will come in second place with at least 20% of the vote in 5 districts, after allocating the additional 11 delegates awarded to the overall winner, Trump wins 87 delegates and Cruz 5 out of 92. Kasich wins none.
After the March 22 primary there are only 2 contests in the next month. Candidates will have 2 weeks to campaign before the Wisconsin primary and another 2 weeks before New York. I figure Trump will be talking about Cruz “New York Values” comments constantly to New Yorkers during that time.
Delegate Count After 4/19/2016:
Needed to eliminate Cruz – 15
If I have been too generous to Cruz on some of these contests, Cruz may be eliminated at this point. If not, read on.
April 26, 2016
There are 5 contests on April 26 with a total of 172 delegates up for grabs. More or less. Pennsylvania is a strange bird this year. More on this below.
No polling this year for Connecticut but the polls last year showed Trump with a +18 point average. Trump won Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Cruz won Maine but has placed 3rd in New Hampshire and 4th in the VT and MA. Kasich has done better in the New England states than Cruz with the exception of Maine. I see no way Cruz wins a single Congressional District here and Kasich could win 1 potentially, probably not. So we will award Trump 4 of the 5 CD’s at 3 delegates each and the 13 statewide that go to the winner. That gives Trump 25 and Kasich 3.
At this point, Cruz is mathematically eliminated from the nomination. And we still have 4 states to go on 4/26.
Delaware is a winner take all state with 16 delegates. There are no polls listed on Real Clear Politics but several polls show Trump with a sizable lead and it is unlikely anyone but Trump gets these 16 delegates.
Maryland is another winner take all by Congressional District state with 38 delegates. There are 8 CD’s and a 14 delegate bonus for the overall winner. There are only 2 polls this year. One from early January showing Trump up by 17 and one this month showing Trump ahead by 9. Trump will most likely win Maryland and I see kasich and Cruz possibly winning 2 or 3 of the 8 districts, but Trump wins the state. Delegate count Trump +28, Kasich +6, Cruz +3.
Rhode Island has only 19 delegates and they are proportionally allocated. Trump is ahead by 18% in the only poll this year which shows Rubio 2nd, Kasich 3rd and Cruz 4th. Rubio is gone so it is hard to say where his voters will go, but it really doesn’t matter in this state as delegates are awarded to everyone who gets at least 10% of the vote. And I think that is a safe bet. So each candidate will receive 1 vote per CD of the 3 allocated per CD and there are 2 Congressional Districts. In addition, the extra 13 are allocated proportionally with the fractions going to the winner. So Trump will get 5 at large delegates and Cruz and Kasich will each get 3. Totals – Trump +7, Cruz +6 and Kasich 6.
If there were an award for the strangest delegate allocation process, Pennsylvania would be in contention. PA has a total of 71 delegates and 54 are allocated by congressional district, with each of the 18 CD’s receiving 3 delegates. That much is pretty common. Here is where the gallon of strange comes in. The delegates themselves are the ones running. They are undeclared not bound to any candidate. Trump is up by double digits and stands to win the 17 at large delegates bound for the first round to the statewide winner. So the big wild card will be in knowing who to vote for in each CD. And then trying to figure out how they will vote at the Convention. I think the only thing that we can say about PA is that Trump will win the 17 delegates and the other 54 are up in the air.
Delegate Count After 4/26/2016:
Needed to eliminate Cruz – MINUS 65
So at this point, Cruz is no longer mathematically able to arrive at the 1,237 votes necessary to win the nomination and either on 4/19 or without a doubt by 4/26 will have no path to the nomination. And like Kasich, all he can do is try to block Donald Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates. So we may have 2 spoilers and one candidate when all is said and done after the April 26 dust clears.
Below, we will run through the remaining contests to see if Trump can still get to the 1,237. But first, let’s take a look at the Rule called 40b.
In 2011, the establishment Romney backers wanted to ensure Ron Paul would have no possibility of winning the nomination by leveraging his delegates and doing something, but they weren’t sure what. So they decided that in order to receive votes at the Convention in 2012 you must win the majority of delegates in at least 8 states. And if you did not win a majority of delegates in at least 8 states, your name shall not appear on the ballots at the convention. So eat that Ron Paul! You can’t win no matter what you do and we just took away your leverage.
But the Republicans are not known as the Stupid Party for nothing. At this point, Donald Trump, the one they want to stop the most, already has his 8 states with a majority of delegates. This means that you take the total number of delegates awarded in a state and divide that by 2. In many states, as in Delaware above, nobody won a majority of delegates. Even though I declared Trump the winner, he didn’t reach 50% of the 19 delegates – which is 10 for those using Common Core math. Trump only gets 7. But in the states where Trump took all, this counts as one of the 8 state wins with >50% of the delegates. At this point, Trump has reached this milestone, Cruz has 4 and Kasich just 1.
But there are still 10 states to go. The problem is, 5 of them are proportional and 5 are winner take all. It will be difficult to win >50% in the proportional states, so the Winner Take All states become very key to Cruz and the odds of winning the lottery are far better than Kasich winning a majority of delegates in 7 of the 10 remaining contests (after April 26). Cruz needs only4 to qualify to be on the ballot, but that is a stretch. And we already know Cruz will not arrive at the 1,237 delegates. And there are not a lot of Cruz friendly states remaining.
So the problem for the GOPe becomes that Trump, even if he falls short of the 1,237 delegates, and assuming Cruz does not get 8 state majority wins, is th eonly name that can appear on the ballot at the Convention. No matter how many rounds the voting goes, there can be only one name on the ballot.
Unless they change the rules in the middle of the game to put someone like Romney or Ryan on the ballot. They will not have 8 state wins. And the problem becomes that the candidates who have spent a year or more running for the nomination set their strategy based on the rules. If there were not an 8 state requirement, their strategy may have been very different. Instead of spending time in some states, they would have concentrated more on others. They tried to stack the deck and now it has come back to bite them. Changing the rules this late in the game to nominate a RINO will destroy the Republican Party and we can kiss the House and Senate goodbye. Not to mention the White House. And the Country.
But let’s run out the remaining states to see what we can expect. Of course, momentum sometimes takes over and Trump may do far better than expected, like a snowball rolling down a hill. But we will ignore those dynamics.
May 3, 2016
Indiana has 57 delegates. They are allocated winner take all by CD with 9 CD’s. There are also 30 delegates that go to the winner of the statewide election. Kasich is the local boy here and did very well in Ohio. Cruz and Rubio were not even close in Ohio and I don’t think they will do a lot better in Indiana. Although there are more evangelicals in Indiana than Ohio. I think Trump will probably win the statewide race and several of the CD’s, but let’s just say Kasich picks up the win, the at large delegates and Trump and Cruz each win 3 CD’s. The Delegate count would be Kasich 39, Trump 9, Cruz 9.
Indiana is the only race on May 3.
Delegate Count After 5/3/2016:
May 10, 2016
Nebraska is a winner take all by state (not CD). Whoever gets the most votes statewide wins the 36 delegates. There are no polls on RCP but a couple of polls that are out there show Trump ahead by 10 – 15. But given Cruz wins in the neighboring states, we will award this one to Cruz. Winner take all and Cruz gets 36.
West Virginia has 31 delegates up for grabs and 3 at large. WV has 3 CD’s and each will have 3 delegates running in each district with their own names and presidential preference. The three winning the most votes in each district will go to the Convention for their candidate. An additional 22 delegates go to the statewide winner and 3 at large are bound to the statewide winner. This is coal country. Kasich does not stand a chance in the Mountain state. In a February poll, Trump was up by 20. Trump wins all 34 delegates.
Delegate Count After 5/10/2016:
May 17, 2016
Oregon has 28 delegates and they are a winner take all state. The voting is done by mail and the ballots must be in by 8PM on May 17. Postmarks do not count. There is not a lot of polling in Oregon and none of it is recent. However, from what data exists, Trump should be the winner and all 28 delegates will go to him.
Delegate Count After 5/17/2016:
May 24, 2016
Washington has 44 delegates and they are allocated proportionally by Congressional District with 3 per district and 14 statewide bonus delegates. Polls are, like all of the later states, sparse. But in several polls Donald Trump is leading. Trump will win Oregon but will most likely not receive 50% or more in many districts. Kasich will be shut out. Trump will win the 14 statewide delegates and 2 out of 3 in each of the 10 districts. Trump +34 delegates and Crux +10.
Delegate Count After 5/24/2016:
June 7, 2016
The final day for Republican primaries and it is a big one with 5 states up for grabs and a total of 303 delegates which is a quarter of the number needed to win. And Trump needs 182 of them to win the nomination outright at this point.
California has a whopping 172 delegates and the delegates are allocated proportionally by Congressional District. And there are 53 districts with 3 delegates each. Each CD is winner take all, so the candidate that receives the most votes gets all 3 delegates. Polling has Trump ahead by an average of 10.5% and most internet polls (of some use) show Trump ahead in every district. I believe Trump has a good chance of winning all 53 districts, but to stay on the conservative side, let’s give Cruz and Kasich 10 CD’s each. Trump wins 33 CD’s, the 10 State Delegates and the 3 leadership delegates. Totals: Trump 112 delegates, Cruz and Kasich 30 each.
Montana has 27 delegates and is a winner take all. Another state with almost no polling but what is out there shows Trump up by double digits. Trump will win all 27.
New Jersey has 51 delegates and is a winner take all state. And with a double digit lead in the polls, Chris Christie stumping for Trump and the fact Trump is a New Yorker, all 51 delegates will go to Trump.
New Mexico has 24 delegates proportionally allocated with a minimum of 15% to receive a share of the delegates. Cruz will probably win the state, but it will be close. Being generous, we will give Cruz 40% and Trump and Kasich 30% each. Cruz 10 delegates, Trump and Kasich 7 each.
South Dakota has 29 delegates and is a winner take all state. No polling at all in RCP but internet polls show Trump ahead. The same polling shows Rubio in second place and Cruz in third. I can’t see Cruz or Kasich taking South Dakota. Trump wins 29 delegates.
Delegate Count After 6/7/2016:
Pennsylvania has 54 delegates to allocate, but as you read above about PA, these delegates are themselves running as delegates without identifying the candidate they will vote for. But one thing is for sure. In the Western part of the state, coal mining is a big thing. Kasich may have won Ohio, but he did not win the Eastern or Southern part of the state. Eastern Ohio borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia. And Eastern PA shares a border with New Jersey. Trump was up by 17 points in a poll taken earlier this month and Rubio was second. I don’t know how many delegates will be for Trump in PA, but it is a safe bet that the majority of the 54 unknown delegates will go to Trump.
It is difficult to see a path for Ted Cruz to win the required majority of delegates in 8 states, let alone 1,237 delegates even if a few states go to Cruz that I have as Trump states. Utah may be one of those where Cruz will bring in all of the delegates and get another of the 8 required states. And if that happens, Cruz would gain 26 delegates with Trump losing half of those I have allocated. A poll that came out yesterday in Utah conducted by a guy that A) Hates Trump and B) Worked for Jeb Bush and is an obvious establishment guy showing Cruz above 50% and Trump under 15%. (Read my analysis here.) But a brand new poll out just this morning (Monday May 21, 2016) shows what I believe is a more accurate measure. Cruz 42, Trump 21, Kasich 13. I believe Kasich will hit the 15% threshold and the votes will be split as I showed above. But if Kasich fails to get the 15%, Trump and Cruz will both get more delegates.
Time will tell but it is quite obvious that Ted Cruz will not make it to 1,237 delegates by any stretch of the numbers. And I don’t see Cruz winning the required 8 states. And my count shows Trump will be over the required minimum delegates by 44 with more delegates from PA that will definitely add to his totals (and buffer any short counts in my analysis).
There will be no “brokered” convention. Trump will win it outright. With delegates to spare.