March 1, 2016
Everything’s bigger in Texas and so is the delegate pool. For a time in January and early February, Ted Cruz had visions of breaking 50% and taking the vast, vast majority of them. Marco Rubio needs to clear 20% to win statewide delegates. It’s going to be close.
Hillary has Bernie taken care of here, but he’s pushing to make the delegate gap as small as possible. He did recent rallies in Austin and Dallas to that end.
Where does everyone land?
Hillary Clinton 63.9%
There are a bunch of liberal/progressive Democrats in Austin. Not enough to make Hillary sweat. Texas is not super-heavy with college towns. Lone Star Latinos are not like their counterparts in Nevada.
Bernie got a big push from the foreclosure crisis there. Texas was less impacted than almost any other state. The housing market never bubbled over the way Nevada did. While he’s likely to do better with Hispanic voters than African Americans, polling doesn’t indicate parity.
Many of the remaining white Democrats are older, not Bernie’s demographic. There are a few Oklahoma-style populists, but again, not enough. Hillary has invested plenty of time and money organizing across the state.
It’s a huge area to cover, Bernie got a late start, and it didn’t look close enough for him to move resources here from elsewhere. Big win for Hillary.
Bernie Sanders 35.8%
This was never on the list of Bernie targets. Best case he could have finished within 10 to 15 points to really limit the delegate damage. A Nevada win and that was absolutely in play. Now, at least it’s not another South Carolina, but he will drop plenty of delegates.
Ted Cruz 36.4%
This isn’t what Ted wanted, but it could have turned out worse. A week ago, several polls indicated a dead heat. Now Cruz has a noticeable advantage. He doesn’t fail to turn out his voters and over a million Texans have already made their official call.
Early voters are reflected in polling, but it takes away the chance for them to abandon him at the last minute. Since the debate, the gap between Cruz and Rubio has grown. That’s the most important thing for Ted.
If Rubio stays under 20%, the delegates are divided two ways instead of three. It means Marco will need to over-perform elsewhere to catch Cruz in the delegate count.
Donald Trump 31.3%
The Donald gave this a real effort, but it doesn’t look like he’ll get to a full sweep of Super Tuesday. Cruz is too well organized on the ground and put too many resources towards Texas. Originally it was to clear 50%, but the same architecture likely prevented a Trump surprise.
There is usually some overlap between Rubio leaners and Trump leaners. The Christie endorsement helps him with these. By closing well in Texas, along with Cruz being focused on salvaging a win, there was less room for Rubio.
Cruz winning combined with Marco falling below the 20% barrier increases the odds of a split anti-Trump decision today. That’s only good for Trump.
Marco Rubio 18.8%
If Rubio falls short today and is unable to end it as the clear Trump alternative, there are a couple of places to look. A failure to win Minnesota is a problem. Trump becoming uncatchable in Virginia is a problem. Not getting close in Tennessee, another issue.
Of all of those, missing 20% in Texas is potentially the most destructive. It increases the gap between Rubio and Cruz, and helps Trump get ahead of his pace for 1237.
If he can slightly exceed my guess, this is a much better day. The problem is his polling is worse than it was a few days ago, and there are fewer truly undecided voters for him to pick off.
John Kasich 7.3%
Running out of commentary for another Kasich single digit finish.
Ben Carson 6.1%