Ted cruz’s small strength in Wisconsin is Falling as independents were breaking, for Donald Trump, according to exit polls.
On the Democratic side, exit polls show Clinton is more often picked as the candidate who could be better positioned to beat Trump in a hypothetical general election. Fifty-five percent say she’d be the better Trump foe, while just 42 percent said the same for Sanders.
Add Wins in the April 19 New York primary, where Trump seems better positioned right now than Clinton, according to recent polls.
For Trump in particular, though, every loss – however slim – increases the chances he’ll fall short of the necessary 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination and face a contested convention in July.
For Trump, the long lead-up to Wisconsin’s contest has included one of the worst stretches of his candidacy. He was embroiled in a spat involving Cruz’s wife, which he now says he regrets, was sidetracked by his campaign manager’s legal problems after an altercation with a female reporter, and stumbled awkwardly in comments about abortion.
Still, Trump made a spirited final push in the state and predicted a “really, really big victory.”
“If we do well here, it’s over,” he said. “If we don’t win here, it’s not over.”
Complicating the primary landscape for both Cruz and Trump is the continuing candidacy of John Kasich. The Ohio governor’s only victory has come in his home state, but he’s still picking up delegates that would otherwise help Trump inch closer to the nomination or help Cruz catch up.
Trump has joined Cruz in calling for Kasich to end his campaign. But Kasich cast Trump’s focus on him as a sign that he’s best positioned to win over the businessman’s supporters.
“The rule is 1,237 — if you don’t get the 1,237 you can’t be picked,” Kasich said Monday. “What’s wrong with that process? What are we supposed to say? ‘Well, you almost got there.’ Almost got there is not what the rules say.”
For Republicans, 42 delegates are at stake Tuesday. If Cruz wins all of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates, Trump would need to win 57 percent of those remaining to clinch the GOP nomination before the July convention. So far, Trump has won 48 percent of the delegates awarded.
Going into Tuesday’s primary, Trump had 737; Cruz had 475; and Kasich had 143.
For Democrats, 86 delegates are on the line Tuesday in Wisconsin. So far, Clinton has 1,243 delegates to Sanders’ 980 based on primaries and caucuses. When including superdelegates, the party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton holds a much wider lead — 1,712 to Sanders’ 1,011. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.
On the eve of voting in Wisconsin, Clinton’s campaign manager argued that Sanders’ only path to victory “relies on overturning the will of the voters.” In a memo to supporters, Robby Mook wrote that Sanders’ strategy now is “a combination of trying to flip pledged delegates at state and county conventions, while also convincing superdelegates that he deserves their support.”
Sanders would need to win 67 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates to catch up to Clinton. So far, he’s winning 37 percent.
Even if Sanders wins in Wisconsin, he’s unlikely to gain much ground. Because Democrats award delegates proportionally, a narrow victory by either candidate on Tuesday would mean that both Sanders and Clinton would get a similar number of delegates.