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Republicans: After March 8th, still in contested convention zone, but Trump in good position to change that

On the Republican side March 9th brought results from Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi. The results were:

Trump +73, Cruz +59, Kasich +17, Rubio +1

The projections I made a few days ago based on polling were:

Projected total for March 8th: Trump +91, Cruz +28, Rubio +18, Kasich +12, Carson +1

Despite his wins, Trump considerably underperformed what his polling indicated just a couple days beforehand, while Cruz beat his estimates by quite a bit. Rubio, well, Rubio just flamed out.

Now, this is still a Trump win, but the fact that it was less than the polls would have predicted may mean that there is weakness in Trump that is not being captured by the latest polls.

Also, it was not enough to put him on track to get back out of the “contested zone” where we are on track for a contested convention, and back to a place where he actually has a majority of the delegates.

Lets look at the “% of remaining delegates needed to win” graph:

chart (100)

Before today, Trump needed 53.85% of the delegates to be on track for an outright win. For the night he got 48.67% of the delegates. Not quite there. So his % needed for the next contests increases to 54.39%.

This is getting high given that his history to date is only getting 44.14% of the delegates. He needs to improve his rate of delegate acquisition by about 23% to head toward an outright win.

If the remaining states were all straight proportional, it might already be time to start saying the likelyhood of the contested convention was getting to the point that anything else would be a surprise.

But the Republican contests are almost all biased at least a little bit to the winner, and starting March 15th, we have a number of high delegate winner take all states, most notably Florida and Ohio.

As I’ve been doing, lets look at the next few contests. This time lets go all the way through the big March 15th day. As usual, using RCP poll averages and delegate distribution rules from Green Papers.

Florida – 99 delegates – March 15th:

  • Poll averages: Trump 40.2%, Rubio 24.4%, Cruz 17.4%, Kasich 8.4%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 99

North Carolina – 72 delegates – March 15th:

  • Poll averages: Trump 32.7%, Cruz 21.7%, Rubio 15.3%, Kasich 9.7%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 30, Cruz 20, Rubio 14, Kasich 8

Illinois – 69 delegates – March 15th:

  • Poll averages: Trump 32.7%, Rubio 18.7%, Cruz 17.7%, Kasich 13.3%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 37, Rubio 12, Cruz 11, Kasich 9

Ohio – 66 delegates – March 15th:

  • Poll averages: Trump 39.0%, Kasich 34.0%, Cruz 15.3%, Rubio 7.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 66

Missouri – 52 delegates – March 15th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 52

Wyoming – 29 delegates – March 12th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 12, Cruz 7, Rubio 6, Kasich 4

District of Columbia – 19 delegates – March 12th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 9, Cruz 5, Rubio 5

Virgin Islands – 9 delegates – March 10th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 4, Cruz 2, Rubio 2, Kasich 1

Guam – 9 delegates – March 12th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 4, Cruz 2, Rubio 2, Kasich 1

Northern Marianas – 9 delegates – March 15th:

  • No recent polls, using national avg: Trump 36.0%, Cruz 21.8%, Rubio 18.0%, Kasich 12.0%
  • Delegate estimate: Trump 9

Now, lots of assumptions there. Also, Wyoming and some of the territories are actually directly electing delegates and we may not know their preferences on election night, so they may be listed as unbound or TBD for awhile. But lets do the addition anyway. From the above we end up with:

March 10th to March 15th estimate: Trump 322, Cruz 47, Rubio 41, Kasich 23

That would give Trump a whopping 74.36% of the delegates, well above the 54.39% he needs.

Now, because that includes some big winner take all, and some more that are winner-take-most, that is highly volatile. If he loses Florida… or Ohio, where the race is a lot closer… then things start to look worse for Trump very quickly.  In terms of winning outright… not necessarily in terms of keeping the delegate lead.

But given the results above, does Trump get back to a delegate majority?

The new totals would be:

Trump 785, Cruz 409, Rubio 196, Kasich 77, Others 15

Trump would have 52.97% of the delegates. He would be back on track for an outright win.

Not only that, but 1482 of the 2472 delegates would already have been allocated. That is just a hair under 60%.  Only 990 delegates would be left. And Trump would already have 785 of the 1237 delegates he would need to win outright. So he would only need 452 more delegates… or 45.66% of the remaining delegates. Which would probably be an easy ask given where the campaign would be at that point and the number of winner take all and/or winner take most states coming up. If he wins both states, the chances of a contested convention drop dramatically. We’re almost certainly looking at a clean Trump win.

Take away Ohio and Trump would no longer have a majority at this stage, and would still need 52.32% of the remaining delegates to win outright. This would still be very doable, just a little bit harder. In this scenario, we might be hanging on the edge between the contested convention and the Trump win for awhile.

Take away Ohio AND Florida and not only would Trump not have a majority, but he would need a full 62.32% of the remaining vote to win outright. This number would be more difficult to achieve, and the chances of a contested convention would then be very very high.

Now, this of course assumes the results are somewhat similar to the projections above in the other states too… but the general outlines of this are likely to remain true.

Where we are after March 15th will depend in huge part on Florida and Ohio. Right now Trump is way ahead in Florida, and has a slim lead in Ohio. But Trump has been underperforming his polls lately. If that trend continues, things may be closer than they look right now.

There are five and a fraction days left, including one more debate. So there is room for considerable movement as well.

But Trump has a significant advantage at this point. We are currently in the “contested convention” zone… but Trump is in a very good position to knock us out of there and into the “Trump wins” zone.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

@ElectionGraphs tweets from 2016-03-09 (UTC)

@ElecCollPolls tweets from 2016-03-09 (UTC)

@abulsme tweets from 2016-03-09 (UTC)