By Jim Ellis
April 19, 2016 — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) scored another victory in a Republican state convention system that features no direct voting. Like North Dakota and Colorado, Wyoming has historically chosen its delegates through the state convention process, and did so again over the weekend.
Earlier in the process, county caucuses chose 12 of the state’s 29 national convention votes. On Saturday, the state convention delegates elected the remaining 14 national delegates. The final three are the Republican National Committee members: the state GOP chairman, the national committeeman, and national committeewoman.
The end result is 23 delegates for Sen. Cruz versus one for national front-runner, Donald Trump. The others remain uncommitted or attached to other candidates. But, Wyoming is one of the unbound delegations, meaning the members can still change their votes unless subsequent party directives and rules enforce pledged loyalty.
According to the GreenPapers.com political information website, Trump now leads Cruz 758-558 in the national delegate count. This means Trump needs another 479 votes to clinch the nomination. To win on the first ballot, Trump would have to claim just over 62 percent of the outstanding 769 Republican delegates.
The next eight days are big for Trump. New Yorkers will vote today, and he needs to capture approximately 80 of the available 95 delegates to keep any hopes of clinching a first ballot victory alive. On April 26, primary voters in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will go to the polls. Since these eastern states should be among Trump’s best venues, he will need to commit well more than 62 percent in order to off-set tougher (for him) upcoming states such as Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and South Dakota.
The Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center released the latest in their series of Rocky Mountain Polls (April 4-11; 564 registered Arizona voters), and again we see them projecting the Senate contest between incumbent Sen. John McCain (R) and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1) to be very close. Back in January the firm made news with its data release suggesting that McCain was clinging to only a one-point, 38-37 percent, lead. Their new April poll now shows a flat tie, with both candidates receiving 42 percent.
Considered a Democratic sleeper target, the race will be moving into the top tier if other polls begin to produce similar numbers. This is especially true since several Behavior Research Center data points lead one to question this poll’s reliability factor, at least to a degree.
In the demographic category, the results find Sen. McCain leading Kirkpatrick 50-37 percent among Hispanic voters, a statistic that seems to make little sense. Though Hispanics traditionally vote more Republican than do African Americans, for example, the split is usually something closer to the reverse of this segment point.
Secondly, the study finds McCain doing much better in more Democratic Pima County (Tucson) than in Maricopa County. In the southern region, the senator leads Kirkpatrick by 10 points while the two are tied in the Phoenix metropolitan area. These results are close to opposite of what one historically sees.
Finally, in the partisan breakdown section McCain only commands 51 percent of Republicans, with 27 percent voting for Kirkpatrick. His problems with the conservative base are well known, which could explain such a ratio.
Kirkpatrick, interestingly, doesn’t fare much better among Democrats. She attracts 59 percent from her own party, while the senator claims 25 percent. This can be explained by McCain’s bipartisanship on a number of issues being attractive to certain Democrats, in addition to Kirkpatrick not being particularly well known statewide.
The Behavior Research Center’s survey may have some methodological flaws, but its conclusion, that the Arizona Senate race is headed for a close finish, could well be accurate.