Polling Update for March 15: 4 of Top 10 Republican Delegate Prizes; Some Winner Take All

March 11, 2016

Tuesday, March 15 is shaping up as a pivotal day in the Republican nomination fight. Five states, including four of the top ten delegate prizes, will be voting. Additionally, the date marks the first date when states have the option for winner take all allocation of delegates. In all, these states will put 358 delegates into play.

As of now, Donald Trump leads the Republican field with 458 delegates, about 100 ahead of Ted Cruz.  Trump has about 37% of the 1,237 needed to nominate.

A recap of where things currently stand for each contest follows, including a discussion of the delegate allocation procedure, as we understand it. The poll closing times are believed accurate, but you should not rely on them to vote. Click/tap a state for more details.  

Florida The big prize on March 15 with 99 winner take all delegates. There has been a lot of polling this week, and Trump leads it all, but there's an interesting stratification here.  About half the polls show a competitive battle, with Rubio about 7 points back. The other half show an easy Trump win of 15-20 points, with Marco Rubio only a few points ahead of Cruz. There's not a lot in-between. Florida is a must-win state for Rubio. Polls in most of the state close at 7PM ET.  (Projection: Likely Trump; either Trump or Rubio will win and gain 99 delegates).

North Carolina The state proportionately allocates its 72 delegates based on the statewide result. Trump has led every poll this year, currently averaging about 10 points over Cruz. Polls close at 7:30PM ET. (Projection: Likely Trump. If we assume the poll averages are the outcome, and that only these four candidates get delegates, allocation would be roughly 30 Trump, 20 Cruz, 13 Rubio, 9 Kasich).

Illinois The state has 69 delegates. 15 of these will go to the statewide popular vote winner. The remaining 54 delegates are directly elected, 3 per Congressional District. There has been limited polling here; a Chicago Tribune survey earlier in the week gave Trump 32%, with Rubio, Cruz and Kasich all near 20%. Trump has led every poll this year, currently averaging about 10 points over Cruz. Polls close at 8:00PM ET. (Projection: Likely Trump for the 15 statewide delegates. No idea what to expect for the remainder).

Ohio This race, with 66 winner take all delegates, has tightened in recent weeks. Trump is currently leading by an average of 2.5 points over the state's governor, John Kasich. For the overall race for the nomination, this may be the most important battle of the night, particularly if Trump wins Florida. Polls close at 7:30PM ET. (Projection: Toss-up; either Trump or Kasich will win and gain 66 delegates).

Missouri While outside the top 10, the state still has a significant 52 delegates. If a candidate exceeds 50%, he receives all 52 of the delegates. Otherwise, the candidate with the most statewide votes gets 12 delegates, with the remaining 40 allocated, in groups of five, to the winner of each of the state's eight Congressional Districts. There has been no recent polling here; a late 2015 survey gave Trump a 10 point lead over Cruz. Polls close at 8:00PM ET. (Projection: Nobody gets 50% statewide; Trump or Cruz probably the best bet for the 12 statewide delegates).

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