By Jim Ellis
April 18, 2016 — In anticipation of the April 26 primary, the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey research conglomeration studied (April 5-9; 775 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters, 368 likely Maryland primary voters) the Maryland electorate and found the seesaw Senate Democratic primary continuing to change.
These latest results find Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County) again taking a lead over fellow Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County), this time a 44-38 percent margin on the most recent ballot test. Last week, the Washington Post and University of Maryland released their own poll posting Edwards to a 44-40 percent advantage. The race will continue to be very close all the way to primary Election Day. The eventual Democratic nominee will succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) in a state where Republicans have little chance of winning a statewide federal contest.
On the presidential front, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a wide 58-36 percent advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). Clinton needs only 30 percent of the remaining delegates to capture the Democratic national prize. The Free State has 118 Democratic delegates. With victories in New York (291 delegates) next Tuesday, and Maryland on the 26th, Clinton will be knocking on national victory’s door.
For the Republicans, Donald Trump leads Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), 41-29-24 percent, suggesting a split in the Maryland Winner-Take-All by congressional district delegate apportionment system. In this case, three delegates apiece will be awarded the candidate placing first in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Eleven delegates are awarded to the statewide winner. Maryland has a total of 38 Republican delegates.
NBC/WSJ/Marist also surveyed the more complicated April 19 New York primary, where Trump’s chances of scoring a backdoor Winner-Take-All are not realistically attainable. To win all 95 delegates, a candidate must record a majority of the statewide vote and then break 50 percent in each of the 27 Empire State congressional districts. Getting 80 of the 95 will be tough enough, but this is the range that Trump needs to position himself for the difficult-to-obtain first ballot nomination.
The poll (April 6-10; 257 likely New York Republican voters, 557 likely New York Democratic voters) has an unacceptably low GOP sampling universe, thus it does not tell us anything beyond what is a potential statewide split. Segment cells into congressional districts would be too low to determine any reasonable result, so here we are in the dark. In the statewide count, the survey points to a 54-21-18 percent Trump lead over Gov. Kasich and Sen. Cruz.
For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to maintain a consistent 55-41 percent lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders. Such a result would give the Democratic front-runner more than enough delegate votes to meet her projected New York quota.
A new NY1/Baruch City College poll (April 5-10; 1,597 New York adults; 1,306 registered New York voters; 632 New York Democratic primary voters, 324 likely New York Republican primary voters) largely confirms the NBC/WSJ/Marist Democratic numbers, but finds a much different Republican result.
The data posts Clinton to a similar 50-37 percent spread, very much in line with the previous findings. But, for the Republicans, the result puts Trump in much stronger position. The NY1/Baruch survey reveals 60 percent statewide support for the Republican front-runner, with Kasich and Cruz scoring only 17 and 14 percent, respectively.
Should Trump reach this type of margin, he would likely capture the 80 delegates he needs from his home state in order to begin reconstituting a first ballot victory.