The Pulse: Enter Cruzich

William JordanUS Elections Editor
April 26, 2016, 2:38 AM GMT+0

Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.

Five states vote today, while Ted Cruz and John Kasich finally be teaming up to stop Trump – sort of. Here are some things you should know:

  1. Where do things stand now?

    For the Democrats: With her 16-point win in New York, Hillary Clinton expanded her delegate lead over Bernie Sanders 30 delegates, bringing her delegate count to 1,428 against 1,153 for Sanders. Counting superdelegates, at 1,944 Clinton is only 439 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination (Sanders is 1,191 short)

    For the Republicans: Donald Trump swept nearly all of New York’s Republican delegates, putting him at 845 total and 392 short of the 1,237 needed to win. Ted Cruz is at 599 and John Kasich is at 148.

  2. What’s next?

    Today there are primary elections in five Northeastern states: Pennsylvania (210 Democratic delegates, 71 Republican), Maryland (118, 38), Connecticut (92, 57), Rhode Island (33, 19) and Delaware (31, 16). On Sunday YouGov released a poll of Pennsylvania – the biggest prize of the day – and found Trump leading by 23 points, Clinton by 8.

    Polls released so far suggest Trump and Clinton could both run the table. Looking at demographics alone, a close Democratic race in Rhode Island seems especially likely (polls in Connecticut have also had the race within the low single-digits).

  3. So…?

    Democratic delegates will, as usual, be allocated proportionally.

    On the Republican side, every state except Rhode Island is “winner-take-all”. Pennsylvania, however, wins the prize for weirdest delegate rules: 17 are bound to vote for the winner at the convention, but 54 of the state’s delegates are unbound – they can do whatever the heck they want. Many have said they will support whoever wins the state, but Cruz has repeatedly outfoxed Trump in wooing free agents, so: who knows.

  4. Then why are people talking about Indiana?

    To add insult to injury for GOP voters in Pennsylvania, much of the attention among the prognostication class has already moved on to the next big contest: Indiana, on May 3rd. This is mostly because Indiana has emerged as something of a last stand for the #NeverTrump crowd: given Trump’s leads in the states that vote today and in California (June 7), a win in Indiana would put him firmly on the path to 1,237. A loss, however, would make it much more difficult to reach the magic number.

    The importance of the state for Trump’s opponents revealed itself in an unexpected way this week, with a publicly announced pact between Kasich and Cruz – Kasich won’t compete in Indiana while Cruz pulls out of New Mexico and Oregon. Will it work? YouGov’s Indiana poll has Trump leading Cruz by only five points, and in the same poll two-thirds of Kasich supporters (20% of the total) said “stopping Trump” factored into their decision making. However, soon after the announcement, Kasich insisted his Indiana supporters should still vote for him; he just won’t be campaigning there.

  5. Anything to watch out for in the blue corner?

    Clinton has effectively secured an unsurmountable delegate lead, and Democratic voters seem to know it: only 10% of likely voters (and 17% of Sanders supporters) in Pennsylvania said it was “very likely” Sanders would win the nomination. However, in the same state only 11% of primary voters said his impact on the primary overall had been negative – 47% said positive, for pushing Clinton leftwards – so if Sanders does as he says he will do and sticks around until June 7, voters are unlikely to mind.

  6. Something else: is Sanders losing because “poor people don’t vote”?

    Asked about his poor performance in states with high income inequality, Sanders cited low turnout among the country’s poorest voters. While it’s true that research has suggested non-voters are more liberal than active voters, and low-income groups turned out in low numbers in the 2014 midterms, there is a paucity of evidence to suggest these factors worked against Sanders in the primary. In states that conducted exit polls, Clinton has usually beaten Sanders among voters making less than $50,000 a year. In YouGov’s national polling, Clinton performs best with adults in the highest and lowest income brackets, while Sanders is strongest (but still trails Clinton) among those in the middle-income bracket.

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The Pulse is a weekly newsletter YouGov has launched ahead of the 2016 primaries and general election to give readers a one-stop-shop for the latest polling-related news from the campaign. In addition to YouGov’s own extensive coverage of the election, The Pulse gives you the five things you need to know about the state of the campaign each week (and one you don't need to know but we think is worth knowing anyway!).

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