Monday, April 25, 2016

Clinton and Trump Will Pour It On in Five Eastern States Tomorrow

On the face of it, the GOP and Democratic races look extremely similar.  The frontrunners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have enormous delegate leads over their opponents, and when the five eastern state primaries being held tomorrow are over those leads will only have increased.  And yet the two races are in very different places.

The Democratic side is behaving more conventionally.  Hillary Clinton, with her nomination all but assured, is no longer focused on Bernie Sanders, and instead has turned her sites on the GOP and the general election.  The media attention has shifted Democratic coverage from the race for delegates to Hillary’s potential VP choices.  The clamor for Sanders to exit is rising.  If there is any drama left in this race at all, it lies in the files of the FBI, and the unlikely chance that they might have found an indictable offense in their investigation of Clinton’s email fiasco.

Nothing on the GOP side, however, is conventional, and despite Trump’s enormous (dare I say “huge”?) delegate lead, the focus remains on the primaries and specifically the delegate count.  And the reason is simple – the mainstream GOP, which now, incredibly, is fronted by Ted Cruz – has the goal of creating a brokered convention that could deny Trump the GOP nomination.  To prevent this, Trump needs to secure 1,237 delegates within the primary season, and it will be close.  Every delegate counts, and the minutiae of delegate allocation methods are now the stuff of headlines.

According to BTRTN’s own “Trump Tracker,” Trump is just about on track to reach the 1,237 threshold.  Tomorrow is a big day, with both parties holding primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.  Polls show Trump comfortably ahead in all five states. 

Word came this morning that Kasich and Cruz have decided to team up to try to head off Trump by focusing on separate states, Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico and Cruz in Indiana.  I actually think Trump got this right, in his quick tweet:  “Desperate!”  I am not at all certain it is a good strategy on the merits; Cruz and Kasich are hardly ideological bedfellows, and a potential supporter neglected by them might actually turn to Trump rather than the other.  Since their bases are different, I would think the best way to thwart Trump in, say, Indiana, would be for both Cruz and Kasich to maximize the turnout of their people.

For what it’s worth, Clinton has led in all but one of the 16 polls conducted in April across the five states, the lone Sanders lead being recorded in one poll in Rhode Island.  Sanders’ best shots to pick off a win are in that tiny state and also in Connecticut, where the race has tightened.  But he remains quite far back in the two biggest states, Pennsylvania (where he has campaigned extensively) and Maryland, which should be a Clinton rout.

BTRTN predicts that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will sweep the five eastern primaries, Trump by landslides and Clinton by a wide margin in Maryland, convincingly in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and by squeakers in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

4/26 GOP
BTRTN Prediction
PA
MD
CT
DE
RI
Trump
51
46
58
62
61
Cruz
26
30
16
17
14
Kasich
23
24
26
21
25

4/26 DEM
 BTRTN Prediction
PA
MD
CT
DE
RI
Clinton
56
62
51
54
51
Sanders
44
38
49
46
49






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