By Jim Ellis
May 3, 2016 — Seven polls, all taken between April 13-28 testing today’s important Indiana Republican presidential primary, report similar information; yet one stands alone. Six studies find Donald Trump leading from between two and 15 points over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but one actually finds the opposite result and the margin isn’t even close.
The stand-alone survey comes from the Mike Downs Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and projects the Texas senator to be holding a 45-29-13 percent lead over Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The methodology, however, appears flawed. The sampling period stretches over too long a period for a small respondent group of 400 likely Republican primary voters.
So, should this data be ignored? Not entirely. The six pro-Trump polls from April 18-27 (sample sizes range from 400 to 645) produced a wide range of responses suggesting that the electorate is fluid. The latest two surveys come from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (April 26-28; 645 likely Indiana Republican primary voters) and the American Research Group (April 27-28; 400 likely Indiana Republican primary voters). Each shows Trump holding a substantial lead, but the surveys differ greatly relating to Gov. Kasich’s standing.
NBC/WSJ/Marist finds Trump opening up a large 49-34 percent lead over Cruz with Kasich registering only 13 percent. ARG has a different take. They, too, have Trump leading Cruz but with a slightly closer 41-32 percent spread, and Kasich jumping to 21 percent.
The statewide result is only part of the Indiana delegate selection process, however. Here, Republicans award 27 at-large delegates to the statewide winner, and another 27 through the nine congressional districts (three delegates apiece). This is where Kasich’s standing might matter. If his support is concentrated, such could mean winning delegates in an individual district.
On the Democratic side, the same pollsters all find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), but her margins are small. The IPFW survey is again the outlier, giving Clinton a 15-point, 55-40 percent lead. All of the others find she and Sanders within three to eight points. Disregarding the American Research Group’s 51-43 percent result because it shows the largest lead among the six surveys, the remaining pollsters find the Indiana Democratic primary ranging between three and five points.
The Democratic primary is not particularly important because Clinton is already the presumptive party nominee. All she needs is 19 percent of the remaining delegates in the 14 states and territories still to vote, and she becomes the official candidate. Even breaking even tomorrow in Indiana will more than exceed her delegate quota for this state.
A Trump win tomorrow, meaning he commits at least 39 of the 57 Indiana delegate pool, will go a long way to clinching national victory for the outspoken New York real estate mogul. Should this happen, we would be knocking on the door of a Clinton-Trump general election campaign.