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Latest polls set stage for another Super Tuesday


Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The contested-convention movement got mixed news from the latest Quinnipiac polls of Florida and Ohio, two key winner-take-all states in today’s Super Tuesday II primaries. Donald Trump dominates in Florida, Marco Rubio’s last-stand ground and home turf, but only manages a tie against John Kasich in Ohio.

An outright win by Trump in both states will add 165 delegates to his total and put him more clearly on the path to a first-ballot nomination in Cleveland:

Separate surveys of likely Republican and Democratic primary voters in Florida and Ohio show:
Florida Republican – Trump with 46 per cent, followed by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida with 22 per cent, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas with 14 per cent and Ohio Governor John Kasich with 10 per cent.

Florida Democrat – Clinton over Sanders 60 – 34 per cent.

Ohio Republican – Trump and Kasich tied at 38 – 38 per cent, with Cruz at 16 per cent and Rubio at 3 per cent.

Ohio Democrat – Clinton edges Sanders 51 – 46 per cent.

The Florida polling falls right into line with most other pollsters in the Sunshine State, which has contributed to an RCP average showing Trump up 41/9/23.2 over Rubio. Only two polls out of 10 show Rubio trailing by less than double digits – Mason/Dixon (Trump +6) and Suffolk (Trump +9). The other eight have topline results that look very close to today’s Q-poll. Trump dominates in every demographic; the only demo in which he lacks a double-digit lead is among college graduates, where Trump still beats Rubio 36/28.

Ohio looks much more dramatic. Kasich beats Trump among women (44/37), self-described moderate or liberal Republicans (49/39), and ties among evangelicals at 33 per cent. Trump actually trails Ted Cruz among Tea Party voters (38/36) while Kasich trails in that demo pretty badly at 18 per cent, but the split among very conservative voters is bunched up more tightly: Trump 33 per cent, Cruz 32 per cent, and Kasich 27 per cent.

Florida is a closed primary, meaning only registered Republicans can vote, while Ohio is “mixed”. Trump tends to underperform against polling in those contests. If the split in Florida is as wide as the polling shows, that won’t make any difference in Florida – but it might in Ohio, especially if some Cruz and Rubio voters decide to vote strategically and back Kasich instead. It’s close enough for that to matter; the RCP average actually has Kasich up slightly anyway, 36/33.3.

Now for a look at the Democratic side of the ticket. As expected, Hillary Clinton is cruising to a win in Florida, but it’s looking very tight in Ohio. Sanders wins among the very liberal by almost 2:1 (64/36), but also has a majority of the “somewhat liberal” (50/46). He has a 12-point lead among men, but a 17-point deficit among women. Sanders has an electorate in Ohio that looks very similar to that in Michigan, where he beat Hillary despite a 21-point polling deficit heading into the primary last week. The RCP average for Ohio gives Hillary a six-point advantage but not a majority, 49.7/43.3. Ohio might provide another unpleasant surprise for Team Hillary tomorrow night.

Ohio is not a closed primary, but is “mixed,” meaning unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in the primary. Democrats cannot. I have corrected it above.

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