Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump looks poised for a huge winning streak to close out the month.
Five states with 172 delegates will be up for grabs on April 26, and Trump is the current favorite in each of the contests.
“He’s going to cement his lead … next week in the other primaries, including Pennsylvania,” said Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania.
The states voting next Tuesday have rules favorable to the first-place finisher, who can claim most — and in some cases all — of the delegates:
- Pennsylvania (71 delegates). The statewide winner will pick up 17 delegates. In addition, primary voters will directly elect three delegates in each congressional district. They will be free to vote for whomever they want at the Republican National Convention. Madonna said voters typically have little idea who the delegate candidates are, but added that the campaigns already have begun making efforts to promote delegate hopefuls friendly to their candidates. The latest RealClearPolitics polling average gives Trump a lead of 20.5 percentage points.
- Maryland (38 delegates). The statewide winner will receive 14 delegates. In addition, the winner in each congressional district gets three delegates. Trump has a double-digit lead in three of the last four polls.
- Connecticut (28 delegates). The 13 delegates awarded statewide will be divided proportionally unless a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, in which case he gets them all. In addition, the candidate with the most votes in each congressional district will pick up all three delegates in that district. The only recent poll, a survey taken this month by Emerson College, put Trump at 50 percent.
- Rhode Island (19 delegates). Thirteen delegates will be divided among the candidates who each receive at least 10 percent of the statewide vote. The three delegates awarded in each of the state’s two congressional districts will be divided according to the same rules. The only poll, taken in February, gave Trump an 18-point lead over Sen. Marco Rubio, who was then still in the race. Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz lagged far behind.
- Delaware (16) delegates. The winner will receive all of the delegates. There has been no public polling.
|*54 delegates are unbound|
Madonna said the tsunami of delegates likely to flow into Trump’s pocket would put him on a path to the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination — or come close.
“At the end of the day on the 26th of April … Trump is going to be pushing the envelope of 100 votes or less,” he said.
In a sign of how unusual the 2016 campaign has been, tiny, late-voting Delaware — typically an afterthought in primary politics — will be relevant this year, even more so because it awards its 16 delegates on a winner-take-all basis. Jason Mykoff, a political science professor at the University of Delaware, said he recently received a Bernie Sanders flyer in his mailbox and noted how rare it is to get any kind of attention from candidates who at this stage in the primary are usually making plans for the general election.
|*One poll only (2/23/2016)|
“Clearly, because things are going a little more slowly than the candidates would have wanted, Delaware matters a little bit,” he said. “In the last couple of elections at this point, they would be starting to make that transition.”
Mykoff said he has seen no polling to indicate where the race is, but he said Delaware shares geographical and other traits with the other northeastern states voting next week.
“My sense is [Trump’s] support comes from the same groups of people who have been supporting him in New England and the Mid-Atlantic,” he said.
Thomas Hayes, a University of Connecticut political science professor, said he would expect Republicans in the state to vote like the rest of New England.
“My guess is that Trump will win the state … Trump has done well in the Deep South and New England,” he said. “Trump really gets a lot of media attention, a lot of free media attention, and that has helped.”
Michael Hanmer, research director of the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship, said he is somewhat surprised Trump has performed as well as he has in the Free State.
“But it seems Maryland is not immune to national trends,” he said. “I think there’s just something about this pent-up frustration with the system.”