2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, Uncategorized

Marco Rubio Could Cost Ted Cruz Arizona

March 19, 2016

Ted Cruz really needs a win in Arizona. He’s likely to do well in Utah, but he can’t afford to split with Donald Trump going forward. Plus Arizona has more delegates.

We have a couple of polls now, both taken when Rubio was still in the race. Trump leads in both, Cruz is second, John Kasich is third. A high percentage of voters were still undecided.

Trump is both legitimately ahead and within range. He’s got a 12 to 15 point edge on Cruz. Even if you give all polled Rubio supporters to Ted, Trump is still ahead. 

Kasich is doing just well enough that Cruz needs a majority of Rubio supporters, plus a high percentage of undecided voters. Trump is very unlikely to take less than 38 to 42 percent of the vote.

If Kasich has a floor of 15% and a ceiling in the low 20s, Cruz needs everything to fall into place for him. It’s exactly what he dealt with in North Carolina and Missouri.

In those instances it was Rubio + Kasich that combined to pull those voters off the table, but it was just enough to give Trump the edge. Exit polls in both states indicated Cruz would have narrowly won a two person race.

Let’s assume for a moment that Cruz can hold Kasich pretty close to his floor and that Trump is stuck around 40% like he was in North Carolina and Missouri. Technically, Cruz could thread the needle and win very narrowly.

Only one problem. Arizona started voting a while ago. When they did, absentee/early voters had a somewhat viable Marco Rubio to consider.

The MBQF Consulting poll attempted to measure this, and as of March 10, 16% of early voters picked Rubio. He was already fading, only 7% of those who hadn’t voted were planning on supporting him, but you can’t automatically take his old numbers and apportion the voters to Cruz or Kasich.

Most voters will vote on primary day, or sent in absentee votes after March 10. Most. Cruz lost North Carolina by 4 points. It will probably have less impact than that. But he lost Missouri by a couple thousand votes. Rubio definitely got that many.

You may think Ted Cruz only is dealing with Kasich, but the Ghost of Marco Rubio still haunts him. It may well prevent Cruz from catching up in Arizona



4 thoughts on “Marco Rubio Could Cost Ted Cruz Arizona

  1. As a side note, some Cruzers blamed Rubio for costing Cruz the Missouri primary, which, as you say, Cruz lost by a few thousand votes. However, Cruz campaigned in that last week in Florida, and so Podhoretz points out that Cruz has only himself to blame for not clearing the Trump hurdle in Missouri. He shouldn’t have wasted his time in Florida and invested it where it might have helped.


    1. He also spent time in Ohio. It appears very clear Cruz did this to himself. I’m not sure if he overestimated the effectiveness of campaigning elsewhere, or didn’t want to let it look like he was all-in on Missouri in case he fell short, but it was a clear error.

      Assume he wins Wisconsin on Tuesday. Now look backwards and pretend he had Missouri, plus Utah, plus Wisconsin.

      He’d find himself on a roll now.


    1. One of the trickiest things to estimate is the effect of early voting in each contest. Polls are showing it’s south of 10% in Wisconsin, so there’s a huge variance.


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