30 March 2016

Donald Trump is Now Putting The Finishing Touches

Trump Still Leads
Donald Trump has just roared into the lead in the upcoming California Republican primary, further bolstering his hopes of winning the GOP nomination and avoiding a nasty convention fight, a new poll has found.

In the first independent survey since it became apparent that the Golden State will play a major role in deciding the Republican presidential nominee, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Trump has the support of 38 percent of likely voters, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is favored by 27 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich placed a distant third with 14 percent.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, who appears well on her way to getting her party's nomination, led Bernie Sanders by 48 percent to 41 percent, according to the poll released last 23 March.

Trump continues to surpass expectations. He is the leading candidate across age, income, education and gender groupings, the poll found, despite being targeted by a multimillion-dollar negative ad campaign and being called "a phony" and "a fraud" by the GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney. Trump's poll numbers have soared since the last major survey of California voters -- a January Field Poll -- which showed Cruz with a narrow lead.

Some of the state's veteran political analysts said they weren't surprised.

"California Republicans are deeply concerned about immigration, which is Trump's signature issue," said Jack Pitney, a former GOP staffer who is now a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.

While Sanders may benefit from independent voters who can cast ballots in California's Democratic presidential primary, the closely watched GOP race is open to only registered Republicans.

At this point, there appears to be two possible outcomes of the Republican contest: Either Trump wins the 1,237 delegates he needs to claim the nomination -- or no one does, and the fractured party is left to choose its nominee at its national convention in Cleveland.

With California awarding most of its 172 delegates equally to the winners in each of the state's 53 congressional districts, Republican leaders, fearful that Trump would get creamed in the general election, are counting on Cruz to limit his delegate haul by beating him in a variety of districts where he is perceived as vulnerable.

But that will be a hefty challenge if Trump truly leads among every segment of the Republican electorate, said Bruce Cain, director of Stanford University's Bill Lane Center for the American West.

"Not only is Cruz behind, but there is no obvious strategy as to who he can target or where he can target," Cain said.