Monday, August 26th, 2019

Sabato says 40% for Cruz may be enough


Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball report says 40% support for Texas Senator Ted Cruz may be enough to win the Wisconsin primary:

If support in Wisconsin for Cruz has indeed consolidated at or around 40%, that might be enough for him to not just win the Badger State overall but also to capture many of its congressional districts (24 of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates will be decided by the vote in its eight districts). 0ptimus Consulting, the data firm that worked for Marco Rubio, also surveyed Wisconsin and found a slightly different story, with Trump leading at 29%, Kasich in second with 27%, and Cruz in third at 25%. Helpfully, the firm broke out the results by congressional district, finding Trump ahead in three, Cruz two, and Kasich one, with the other two well within the poll’s margin of error. Given Trump’s narrow path to a delegate majority, every delegate matters.

Many factors in Wisconsin are breaking Cruz’s way. Gov. Scott Walker (R), once a presidential candidate himself, endorsed Cruz on Tuesday in an effort to stop Trump. Although Walker’s backing doesn’t make Wisconsin a sure thing for the Texan — high-profile endorsements have not proven to be all that useful in this year’s Republican contest — it could provide enough of a bump to help Cruz get to 40%. Kasich does not appear to be playing for a statewide win, although he is targeting some congressional district delegates. That too is helpful to Cruz, as is a flood of anti-Trump advertising in Wisconsin, a state that never seemed all that keen on Trump to begin with.

The Crystal Ball recently put together a linear regression model looking at Trump’s county-by-county primary and caucus vote based on different demographic characteristics that, as RealClearPolitics’ Sean Trende and David Byler have shown, tend to correlate with support for the real estate magnate. We also have exit poll and other survey data that suggest connections between these factors and Trump’s success or failure. The variables in the model include the percentages of a county’s population that is black, non-Hispanic white, lacks at least an associate’s degree, and makes below $50,000, as well as the percentage that was born in-state, the number of candidates still actively in the race, and the election type (primary or caucus). Trump’s vote has been somewhat difficult to model, and this one only explains a little more than half of the variance in Trump’s county-level vote so far in 2016. So interpret its results cautiously. Still, we took the model, applied it to Wisconsin’s county data, and estimated Trump’s percentage of the vote in Wisconsin based on the vote share from each Wisconsin county in the 2012 GOP primary. The outcome was 35% of the statewide vote for Trump, fairly similar to his vote in the Illinois and Michigan primaries. Thus, this could be further evidence that Cruz needs to aim for about 40% to win statewide.

That’s good news for Cruz. However, reading the Crystal Ball report is always depressing, right? Sabato and the gang updated their electoral college map projection if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. In case you’re wondering, casting a vote Donald Trump in the Republican primaries is still casting a vote to make Hillary Clinton the next president:


On April 5th, which presidential candidate will get your vote?

  • Ted Cruz (54%, 206 Votes)
  • Donald Trump (21%, 81 Votes)
  • John Kasich (10%, 40 Votes)
  • Bernie Sanders (9%, 34 Votes)
  • Hilary Clinton (6%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 383

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