We now have our first public poll of the Republican race in Oregon, one of three states Ted Cruz and John Kasich divvied up last weekend as part of their delusional, desperate, and likely doomed gambit to derail Donald Trump. The Hoffman Research Group survey will only add insult to injury to the crumbling #NeverTrump movement:
Trump: 43 percent
Cruz: 26 percent
Kasich: 17 percent
It’s only one poll—its margin of error is 4.2 percent; usual caveats apply—but it offers some particularly bad news for Kasich. The pollsters found that 17 percent of GOP voters said they had never heard of the Ohio governor, compared with 2 percent who said the same thing of Cruz and the 0 percent for Trump. Another 24 percent said they had “no impression” of Kasich, compared with 19 percent for Cruz and 11 percent for Trump.
This, remember, is in one of the two states that Cruz agreed to effectively cede to Kasich, ostensibly under the theory that his more moderate brand could prove popular in the state in a one-on-one matchup with Trump. (Though in reality, Cruz was likely more motivated by his desire to clear his own path in Indiana, where Trump’s lead was in the mid–single digits before Kasich agreed to pull out of the state.) According to one of the pollsters, the deal appears to be backfiring in Oregon. “I think that just got a lot of people fed up,” Tim Nash if told Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Kasich is running out of time to introduce himself to Oregon voters. The state primary is conducted entirely by mail, meaning many voters will return their ballots well in advance of the May 17 deadline. And Kasich didn’t help his case, either, when he missed a deadline to have his name listed on an informational flier the state sends out to voters.
To be fair, Oregon isn’t one of the most important contests of the 10 remaining on the GOP primary calendar. State Republicans will hand out their 28 delegates proportionally, making it unlikely to swing Trump’s fortunes drastically either way. (If this poll proves accurate, Trump would walk away with a plurality but not a majority of delegates.) Still, Kasich’s weak polling could convince Cruz to rethink his position—which would further damage a nonaggression pact that has already morphed into a passive-aggressive one. And either way, Trump looks poised to claim a victory in a state where his rivals have attempted to openly coordinate against him, a result that would only further energize his anti-establishment base.