- Trump has 30% of the delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination.
- Trump’s closest competitor, Ted Cruz, has 24% of the delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination.
- Beginning March 15, many primaries become winner take all.
- Trump leads in Florida (winner take all: 99)
- Trump leads in Illinois (winner take all: 69)
- Trump leads in Missouri, but the polling is extremely out of date (winner take all: 52)
- Trump leads in North Carolina (proportional: 72)
- Trump has a slight lead in Ohio (winner take all: 66)
There is a big change coming in the Republican nominating process. Starting March 15, 2016, there will be several winner-take-all primaries that will significantly boost the standings of the victor. With the polling that is available at this point, Donald Trump is the front runner of each of the states that are competing on that day.
Donald Trump is already leading the nominating process even though most states have allocated their delegates proportionally up to the point. The only exception has been South Carolina which was a winner-take-all contest. But even without his South Carolina victory and the 50 delegates that went along with it, Donald Trump would still be in the lead.
Even at this scale, it is easy to see that Donald Trump holds a moderate lead over the other candidates.
If the polling actually represents the voting pattern of the people on March 15, this would leave Donald trump with 55% to 60% of the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. If the polling is accurate, it will be highly unlikely that any of the other candidates could mount a successful bid while coming from so far behind.
If we were to add the delegates for each of the winner-take-all states and divide up the proportional delegates according to how the candidates have done up to the point, the chart might look something like this:
If this is the ultimate outcome, the candidates will have an extremely difficult time overcoming the immense lead that Donald Trump will have amassed. And while anything is possible until a candidate hits the 1237 delegate mark, it would require something extraordinary to happen to reverse Donald Trump’s lead.
But what if there is a strong home-field advantage? What if Marco Rubio and John Kasich each win their home states? That would deny Donald Trump some of the largest prizes of the night, removing the delegates from his column and placing Florida and Ohio in Rubio and Kasich’s column respectively.
That chart would look something like this:
As you can see, even if this were to happen, Donald Trump would still maintain the lead among the Republican presidential hopefuls. This would undoubtedly drag out the nominating contest even further, but each of the candidates in the race would still have a sizable hurdle to overcome with respect to Donald Trump’s lead.
Without better polling, there is very little that can be done to make the picture more clear until after March 15. While no outcome is guaranteed, there is very little possible downside for Donald Trump. Either Donald Trump becomes the presumptive nominee, virtually eliminating the chances of the other candidates, or the contest slogs forward with Trump maintaining the lead.