Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The GOP: End of February and Super Tuesday

There was a lot of talk of what the ceiling is for Donald Trump, which might be around 40%. I am not convinced. The thing that does look possible is Cruz has a ceiling of around 20%, at least nationally. But these national numbers aren't great indicator of what happens at the state level.

Tonight, we will see a LOT of state level action.

Here are the races in order of information available, from least to greatest.

No polls at all in February: The caucus races got bupkiss in terms of coverage: American Samoa, Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming. If Trump loses any of these races, that's a strong talking point for anyone who beats him.

Just one poll: For me, just one poll is less reliable than no polls at all, and Arkansas's one early warning says Cruz has a lead. Maybe like Sanders, he has some regional appeal. If Cruz can't win Arkansas, it's a very bad sign for him. The other one poll states are Vermont and Tennessee, which both have double digit leads for Trump.

Enough polls to paint a fair picture: Texas shows a lead for Cruz, somewhere in the high single digits, say 7% to 9%. In Oklahoma, Trump should win by 10 or so.

Everywhere else: Trump should win the rest of the states going away. He appears to have about a 20 point lead in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia.

For John Kasich, his great hope is to beat Ben Carson everywhere. Catching up to Cruz or Rubio in any race tonight is a long shot. I would not be surprised to see him suspend his campaign after tonight. As for Carson, it all depends on the fraudsters running his book tour. If they think there's still a positive return on investment, his "candidacy: will continue.  

When it comes to the stages of grief, I'm hovering between depression and acceptance over Trump's apparent inevitability now. I'm heartened to see his negatives so high in the general election, but concerned when I remember how high his negatives were among Republicans when this all started. It's my view that whatever negatives Clinton has, she is a much tougher and more seasoned campaigner than anyone Trump faced on the GOP side, and I wouldn't be surprised to see big right-wing money donors do hit pieces on Trump before this thing is well and truly over.

But barring a miracle, the GOP nomination race is all over but the sobbing.

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