I wanted to share four quick observations about Super Saturday‘s results.
1. When it comes to “Never Trump” it’s becoming clear it’s “only Cruz.”
We were told by Team Rubio that the calendar after Super Tuesday favored Marco Rubio more. Today didn’t. Rubio came in third in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana. He was fourth in Maine. He barely beat Kasich in Kentucky. He lost by a wide margin in every state to Trump and Cruz.
Cruz is the only candidate remaining in the field who can beat Donald Trump in the primaries, not some grasp at fantasy about a brokered convention that Rubio and Kasich seem to be going for.
Cruz beat Trump badly in Kansas, he had a convincing win in Maine, and he ran close races against Trump in Louisiana and Kentucky. Cruz won more delegates than Trump did, period.
As far as Rubio is concerned coming in a distant 3rd or 4th doesn’t inspire donors and it certainly doesn’t provide momentum. These factors make it increasingly unlikely that Rubio will even win his own home state of Florida.
2. Trump can be beat with a smaller field and in closed contests.
If it were not for Rubio and Kasich still in the race Cruz would have swept Super Saturday. The margin of victory in Louisiana and Kentucky show that is the case. Yes some Rubio and Kasich supporters may go to Donald Trump, but polling indicates that Ted Cruz is the 2nd choice for more Republicans than Donald Trump is.
I just don’t see Donald Trump hitting the motherlode if Rubio and Kasich drops. It’s time for them to go so Trump can be stopped in winner-take-all states.
3. Cruz is surging, Rubio and Trump are not.
Nate Silver tweeted the following out:
Early votes in LA were about: Trump 48, Cruz 23, Rubio 20.
Current vote count, including early + election day: Trump 43, Cruz 35, Rubio 13
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) March 6, 2016
Election day voters went for Cruz instead of Trump and Rubio.
Also in terms of polling in Louisiana, Trump and Rubio fell short of their poll averages by about 2%. Cruz out performed his by 11 points.
The last Kansas Caucus poll was absolutely worthless. Trump, who was leading, under performed his numbers by almost 12 points. Cruz out performed his by 19 points. The poll was pretty much spot on with Rubio.
The only poll taken for the Kentucky Caucus showed Trump leading by 35% and it was pretty spot on in that regard. Rubio underperformed his polling by 5.5 points. Cruz however outperformed his polling by almost 17 points.
Certainly Ben Carson suspending his campaign didn’t hurt, but there’s more going on here. I suspect Cruz’s Super Tuesday results, and today will only help, were able to convince voters not inclined to go for Trump to back him instead. Wins matter.
4. Cruz won where?
They said it couldn’t be done, but Cruz did win a state in the Northeast – Maine and he did so convincingly. That should help the Cruz campaign shift the narrative that they can only win places where there is a large percentage of evangelicals. Maine is not a hot spot for evangelicals.