U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at his rally for religious liberty on 8/21/15 in Des Moines. Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at his rally for religious liberty on 8/21/15 in Des Moines.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) won the Wisconsin Republican Primary decisively on Tuesday night.

With 100% reporting:

  1. Ted Cruz – 48.2% (531,129) – 36 delegates
  2. Donald Trump – 35.1% (386,290) – 6 delegates
  3. John Kasich – 14.1% (155,200)

Looking at exit polling it’s clear that Cruz was dominate in the Badger state.

  • Cruz won among men and women and every age bracket.
  • Cruz won among voters with college degrees and with voters who don’t have a college education.
  • Among Republicans Cruz beat Trump by 22 points. He also edged out Trump among independents 40% to 39%.
  • Cruz won big among those who considered themselves “very conservative” (31% of those who voted) winning by 37 points. He also won among those who consider themselves somewhat conservative by 11 points.
  • Trump won among moderate voters with 39%.  Cruz and Kasich were tied at 29%.
  • 43% of those polled identified themselves as evangelical. Cruz beat Trump 55% to 34% among those voters. Cruz also beat Trump among non-evangelicals 43% to 35%.
  • Cruz beat Trump among those who believed economy/jobs was their most important issue – 46% to 20%.
  • Among those who said terrorism was the top issue Cruz beat Trump 50% to 36%. Cruz also beat Trump among those who said government spending was their top issue – 51% to 34%.
  • Only 6% of Wisconsin Republican Primary voters said immigration was their most pressing issue.
  • 43% of Wisconsin Republican Primary voters believe that Cruz is the candidate most likely to beat Clinton.
  • 54% of Wisconsin Republican Primary voters believe Donald Trump ran the most unfair campaign.
  • Late deciders within the last month (63% of voters) broke toward Cruz, Trump led among early deciders.

Five takeaways:

  1. This state was a must-win for Cruz and his dominate win makes Trump’s delegate math more complicated and makes a contested convention even more likely.
  2. Late deciders still are going toward Cruz so he is the consensus non-Trump candidate, especially when you consider Cruz beat Kasich among moderate/liberal candidates 31% to 26% (Trump won with 39%).
  3. Trump’s conduct over the last two weeks appears to have hurt him considering 54% of those polled believe he ran an unfair campaign and with Cruz dominating among those who decided within in the last month.
  4. Cruz’s messaging shift to to the economy and jobs was a winning strategy in Wisconsin, especially in a blue collar state like Wisconsin.
  5. Cruz winning an open primary and among independents is troubling for Trump going forward since registered Republicans appear to favor Cruz and we will have more closed primaries coming up. Cruz beat Trump among voters Trump typically wins, that is not good news for his campaign.


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