Frontrunners in both the GOP and Democratic primaries are looking for big wins in Tuesday’s votes, with an eye on consolidating their respective leads.
Republican voters in four states with a total of 150 delegates are set to vote on Tuesday in primaries that could make or break New York billionaire Donald Trump’s tenuous lead.
With 390 delegates, Trump has a narrow lead on Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who scored big wins on Sunday in Maine and Kansas and effectively tied Trump in Kentucky and Louisiana.
Polls favor Trump in Michigan, Mississippi, and Idaho, with no data available in Hawaii. But polling proved to be misleading in Sunday’s contests, with late deciders breaking hard against Trump and for the insurgent candidates.
As support for Florida Senator Marco Rubio dwindles, the question of where his supporters will move to is a major factor in the campaign. If ex-Rubio supporters move to Trump, Kasich, or are equally spread out amongst the field, Trump’s path to the nomination is heavily favored. Only a clear consolidation of Rubio supporters around Cruz could derail Trump’s march to the GOP convention.
If Sunday’s vote is any indication, a Cruz surge is a distinct possibility on Tuesday. Observers including Nate Silver, however, still consider Trump the odds-on favorite to win in both Mississippi and Michigan. If Cruz comes in a strong second it could still indicate a shift in momentum, as the Texas Senator has invested very little in the Michigan contest.
On the Democratic side only two states are in play, Michigan and Mississippi. Given the former Secretary of State’s overwhelming lead with African American voters, she’s all but guaranteed to dominate in Mississippi, where minority voters make up the bulk of the Democratic primary.
In Michigan Mrs. Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by an average of roughly 10 points according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. While not an insurmountable lead, with nearly one third of Michigan Democratic primary voters being African Americans and in light of the ongoing Flint water scandal likely to increase turnout, the odds are very long against a surprise Sanders win.