In a shocking new poll conducted by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, US Senator Ted Cruz is a whopping 16 points ahead of Donald Trump. If Cruz wins Indiana, he will be well on his way to blocking Trump from obtaining a majority of pledged delegates and thereby clinching the nomination before the convention. At the open convention, where the nominee is chosen solely on the convention floor, Cruz is likely to come out on top. Winning an open convention requires charisma to woo the delegates who just became unpledged. Cruz has been shown to possess such an ability, while Trump — let’s just say he hasn’t.
If Trump wins Indiana, then he will be well on his way to clinching the nomination before the convention floor. Each contest in the primary calendar of both parties has increasingly higher stakes. By design, a measure of uncertainty will persist all the way until the end of the primary season. That’s because, one, both parties’ races remain untraditionally close, and two, the largest state to vote — California — doesn’t vote until June 7.
Ted Cruz and his rival, serial third place finisher Ohio Governor John Kasich, recently co-announced a plan to help towards the goal of blocking Trump’s delegate majority. The Cruz campaign said that he would be focusing on Indiana, while Kasich announced that he would focus on Oregon and New Mexico.
This poll is an outlier, meaning not very corroborated by others, but its extreme position is becoming less so as time goes on. During the course of the day today, the Real Clear Politics Polling Average for the Indiana Republican Primary saw Trump’s lead drop from 5% to almost 2%. The HuffPost average, which you can see below, still has Trump up by 9%.
Two other polls were released on Friday as well, and they have Trump with a 2% and 9% lead, respectively. The first was conducted by Clout Research and has a margin of error of about 5%. (The margin of error is an approximation of how far off the actual numbers may be from the reported results.) Keeping this in mind, the Clout numbers actually point to a possibility of a Cruz lead as well. Adding 5% to Cruz’s number and taking away the same from Trump leaves an 8% lead for Cruz, 40% to 32%.
The Mike Downs Center is a project of the Department of Political Science at Indiana University. The Center does not explicitly appear on Five Thirty Eight’s list of pollsters, although “Indiana University” does, in fact, appear. In this case, there is no readily available third party verification as to the accuracy of this poll.
What Five Thirty Eight can help with though is a more general prediction. And, according to their overall forecast, Cruz has a 65% chance of winning the state when it votes on Tuesday. You can find the graph of their predictions below.
Part of this favoring of a Cruz win is because just today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence sort-of-almost endorsed Cruz’s bid for the presidency. He said, that he “wasn’t against anybody,” but that he would be voting for Cruz.
Pence isn’t the only one to not get fired up by the prospect of a Cruz nomination. Cruz’s favorability, both among average citizens and among fellow politicians, is ridiculously low. You can see the latest graph of how many voters view him unfavorably versus favorably below.
Cruz’s obscene lack of popularity and yet tacit support as an alternative to Trump shows just how far out there Trump really is.