Many notable pollsters have picked this week to release national polls looking at prospective match-ups for the November election. The main takeaway appears to be: The less likely a candidate is to get his or her party's nomination, the better they perform in the general election.
On the Republican side, John Kasich swept all 6 polls when pitted against Hillary Clinton, winning by an average of 6.5 points. On the other end of the spectrum, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton average a double-digit lead over Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. The closest match-up for Democratic frontrunner Clinton appears to be with Ted Cruz.
While these numbers are interesting, they ultimately don't tell us much. Trailing for their party's nominations, Kasich and Sanders have been subject to fewer attacks and are still not as well-known across party lines as Clinton and Trump, who both consistently have high unfavorable ratings in polls. In addition, the only polls that ultimately matter are those at the state level.
As attention begins to turn toward April contests, a new poll shows a competitive primary for both parties shaping up in Wisconsin. The study, from Emerson College gives Ted Cruz a 36-35 lead over Donald Trump on the Republican side, while Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 50-44 for the Democrats.
These are the first polls in the state since the last release by the respected Marquette University Law School in late February. At that time, Marquette found Trump with a 10 point lead over Marco Rubio, who has since left the race and 11 points over Ted Cruz. The Democratic race was essentially tied. We would expect a new Marquette survey next week, in advance of the April 5 Wisconsin primaries.
Emerson also took a look at a few match-ups for November, finding that either Democrat would beat Donald Trump by 9 points. Clinton and Cruz were separated by just one point.
Tuesday saw Ted Cruz easily win in Utah while Donald Trump did the same in winner take all Arizona. The main question of the night was whether Cruz could exceed 50% in Utah, the threshold for making it also winner take all. Cruz ended up near 70%. As a result, the night saw Trump win 59 delegates, Cruz 41. Both figures include a committed delegate from American Samoa. John Kasich was shut out for the night.
It was a good night for Bernie Sanders who cruised to victory in both Utah and Idaho caucuses. Hillary Clinton won Arizona. Sanders gained slightly in the delegate race, earning 57 delegates to Clinton's 51. Clinton needs about 600 delegates to reach 2,383 and win the nomination. That's about 1/3 of the remaining delegates.
This weekend sees three additional Democratic caucuses. The largest, by far, is the Washington state one with 118 delegates. Alaska and Hawaii will also hold their events. Based on other Western caucuses, Sanders should do well in Washington and Alaska; a little less clear how Hawaii will shake out. On the Republican side, the election calendar is quiet until the Wisconsin primary on April 5. North Dakota Republicans have a convention the first weekend in April to select delegates for the national convention in July. However, any candidate preferences noted by those delegates are not binding.
Ted Cruz easily won the Utah caucuses on Tuesday night; easily surpassing the 50% threshold to win all of that state's 40 delegates. He also won the support of a delegate in the American Samoa caucus. Unfortunately for the Texas Senator, Donald Trump increased his delegate lead slightly by taking Arizona and its 58 winner take all delegates.
Cruz now needs to win about 82% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination outright before the Cleveland convention.
Separately, Jeb Bush endorsed Cruz this morning. In his endorsement, Bush said "For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama’s failed policies.”
A summary of the overnight delegate counts thus far:
Monday Update: An Arizona Republican poll today gave Trump 46% to 33% for Cruz. This is Trump's highest number to date, although the 13 point margin is pretty similar to other polls. In Utah, a new poll gives Cruz 42% to Trump's 21% with Kasich at 13%. This is quite a bit different than the poll out over the weekend that had Cruz over 50% (that threshold needed to win all the state's delegates) and Trump at 11%. On the Democratic side in Utah, the first poll since January gives Sanders an 8 point lead over Clinton. The Utah polls are a small sample size, so caution is warranted.
See below for more info and links to the specific primary/caucus pages on our site.
This week, voters in Arizona will head to the polls on Tuesday, while Utahns will caucus that same day. In addition, the Democrats will hold caucuses in Idaho and there will be a Republican convention in American Samoa. On Saturday the 26th, Democrats will caucus in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington. Given the time differences, it will likely be late into the evening, at the earliest, before those on the east coast see any results.
Where We Stand
Trump has 678 delegates. He needs about 53% of the remaining delegates to win the Republican nomination before the convention in July. Cruz is next at 423. These numbers include a reallocation of Rubio's 5 Alaska delegates, 3 of whom went to Trump, 2 to Cruz.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won all five of last Tuesday's contests and has opened up a significant lead over Bernie Sanders, particularly when committed superdelegates are included. That said, the calendar is quite a bit friendlier to the Vermont Senator over the next several weeks, with numerous Western caucus events and the Wisconsin primary on April 5.
Arizona Primary The state awards 58 winner take all delegates. Polling has been pretty limited. What there has been gives Trump a low double-digit lead over Cruz. However, Republicans on the ground indicate the race is going to be very close. (Projection: Leaning Trump. The race is probably tightening but this shift needs to be enough to overcome significant early voting in the state).
Utah Caucus A new poll (the only one we have to go on) gives Cruz 53%, Kasich 29% and Trump 11%. The state has 40 delegates that will be awarded based on various thresholds. If this poll is exactly right, Cruz will win all 40 based on exceeding 50%. If no candidate gets to 50%, the key threshold is number of candidates that reach 15%. If all three reach 15%, they'll proportionately split all the delegates. If only two reach that mark, all candidates, regardless of vote, will split. Since only three candidates remain and since Utah reallocates delegates earned by those that have dropped out, it appears the proportional allocation will essentially be the same regardless of whether only two or all three reach 15%. Update: Projection is likely Cruz; unclear whether he crosses 50%.
Nine delegates are also available in American Samoa.
All Democratic contests allocate delegates (except superdelegates) on a roughly proportional basis, some based on the statewide result, some based on results in individual Congressional Districts (for states with more than one District).
Arizona Primary Hillary Clinton appears to have a significant lead; crossing 50% in the two most recent polls. The state has 85 delegates. (Projection: Likely Clinton).
Utah Caucus The only poll here, from mid-January, gave Clinton a 10 point lead. Probably wouldn't put much faith in that given that Sanders has outperfomed expectations since voting began in early February, and he's done particularly well in caucus states. 37 delegates. (Projection: Toss-up). Update: Based on new poll that has Sanders up by 8, and performance in other caucus states, will move to Lean Sanders.
Idaho Caucus No polling here; probably reasonable to see an outcome similar to that of Utah. 27 delegates. (Projection: Toss-up). Update: Still no polling, but given Utah move think this is also a Lean Sanders.
The caucus results on Tuesday will likely be somewhat instructive for Saturday's caucuses in Washington and Alaska. It's less clear what they mean for Hawaii. Washington, with 118, is the most delegate-rich state for the Democrats this upcoming week.
A new set of maps lets you see how each of the remaining candidates has performed in primary and caucus contests, including order of finish and delegates won. For events still to come, the total delegates are shown.
Delegate counts are from the New York Times and are subject to change, particularly for recent events. For example, only a portion of Missouri delegates have been awarded thus far. The maps will update as we get more information.
The active candidate's map is highlighted in green; click/tap to change to another candidate. This area also shows a summary of total delegates won by each candidate, and the percentage of remaining delegates needed to clinch the party's nomination. A value >100% means a candidate cannot* clinch the nomination prior to the party convention.
The Republican map, with Trump active, is shown below.
* Barring some unforseen circumstance. On the Democratic side, this assumes superdelegates remain with the candidate they have committed to support.
Marco Rubio had won 169 delegates when he suspended his campaign earlier this week; other candidates had won 15*. The disposition of these delegates may end up being important if no candidate reaches the required 1,237 to win the Republican nomination.
As with most delegate-related issues, it turns out the answer varies by state. We found this very helpful infographic in today's Wall Street Journal that lays it out nicely. (The graphic is on page A4 of the paper; we haven't been able to find it online except in the WSJ ereader ).
The graphic displays the four methods for what happens to these 184 delegates through the first round at the convention. Those are listed below, along with a couple notes.
Delegates are bound to the candidate (39 of the 184): Iowa is one of the states with this method; all but five of the non-Rubio delegates are in this category.
Candidate can keep or release delegates (42): Rubio controls 40 of these; Carson two. Carson has endorsed Donald Trump.
Delegates become free agents (98): If you're one of these people, you'll likely be hearing from the campaigns.
Delegates get re-allocated proportionately (5): Alaska only; depending on exact rounding rules, either Trump or Cruz will get three of these, with the other getting two. Kasich finished below the 13% threshold to qualify. Update: Trump was allocated 3, Cruz 2. Update 2: Rubio's request for the return of these five delegates was granted.
Here are the latest delegate counts including the (still partial) results of last night's primaries. The table also includes the percentage of the remaining delegates each candidate needs to secure his or her party's nomination.
Thanks to superdelegates, Hillary Clinton only needs about 34% of the remaining 2,322 delegates (which includes 219 uncommitted superdelegates). The math does not favor Bernie Senators. He will need some of those previously committed superdelegates to change their mind for him to have much of a shot at the nomination. These superdelegates will feel little pressure to do so until and unless the Vermont Senator goes on an extended winning streak.
On the Republican side, in the absence of it changing to a two-man race, it would appear that Donald Trump is the only candidate that can realistically reach 1,237 delegates before the Cleveland convention. Trump needs about 53% of the remaining 1,079 delegates.
The election calendar gets quieter for the next couple weeks. The main event next Tuesday will be the Arizona primary. Trump and Clinton lead in relatively limited polling.
For our review of today's events (both parties), including a recap of polling and a little more on delegate allocations, visit our March 15 primary polling update.
For anyone interested, we've created a spreadsheet that lets you allocate delegates in today's five Republican primaries, four of which are among the 10 states with the most delegates. Use it to make your own projections and see the proportion of remaining delegates each candidate will need after today, based on that forecast.
The current values include Donald Trump's 9 delegates from today's caucus in the Northern Mariana Islands. Not all sources agree on delegate counts, so if yours are different, just change the 'Current' field.