March 5, 2016
Marco Rubio’s day of possible doom begins in Kansas, before continuing in Louisiana. There he’s at risk of losing to John Kasich. Here it’s just a matter of finishing far behind Ted Cruz. For the Democrats, it’s the How Big is Hillary’s Margin in a Southern State game.
For more on these topics and a few others, see below:
Donald Trump 40.4%
Cruz is catching up a bit here. Another week and perhaps he’d equalize things. The closest poll has Ted trailing by 12, though with 20% undecided. The Real Clear Politics average has Trump up by 16. He’s over 40% in the majority of surveys.
This just doesn’t fit the profile of a state Trump will lose. Over or under 40% is the thing to watch for. I’m betting on the over.
Ted Cruz 33.1%
The idea he needs to win every state in the region is gone. Whether or not Cruz had Louisiana on his list in September is irrelevant if he can outlast Rubio. Less than a week ago, polls were indicating it was possible Marco would finish ahead of Ted everywhere outside of Texas and Alaska.
Instead, Cruz finished ahead of him in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. Most of those were close, with the Sooner State the only one approaching double digits. Early Louisiana polls indicated a close contest here, struggling for a very distant second.
Now it appears Cruz may double Rubio’s vote, making this look like Alaska, not Arkansas. Combined with a similar result in Kansas, the idea that these are two somewhat evenly matched anti-Trump possibilities is going to take a hit.
Marco Rubio 16.1%
It looks like Rubio is failing to lock down voters beyond his current base of 15% or so. We’ve seen accurate polling in previous contests, and 3 of the 4 recent surveys have him exactly at 15%. The fourth has him at 11, with 20% undecided, so roughly the same thing.
If the polls agree, they match the general narrative, and are in line with surveys in other states, there’s no reason to question them. Even if he has a stronger finishing kick than I’m anticipating, it still doesn’t get him near Cruz.
John Kasich 9.3%
It looks like Kasich is beginning to build some stealthy momentum and is cutting in to Rubio’s support among highly educated voters. Louisiana is not a Kasich place. This is what momentum looks like in the Bayou.
Hillary Clinton: A lot
Bernie Sanders: A little
The good (for him) poll, taken three weeks ago, has Bernie down by 31 points. The bad one, taken the other day, has him with 14% support. Neither offer much solace. Sanders is likely to win 3 of the 4 Democratic contests over the weekend.
Hillary should win Louisiana by enough that the delegate split is roughly even. Her 61/14 advantage in the Magellan Strategies poll is very similar to the 64/14 lead she had in the Clemson poll right before South Carolina voted.
Set the over/under in this contest at 48 points.