Nine Takeaways from Super Tuesday 3

Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

March 15th or Super Tuesday 3 (I originally called it Super Tuesday 2, but apparently March 8th was “super” as well) was a good night for Donald Trump. He won every state that he led the polls in. He wracked up lots of delegates and took one step closer to the GOP nomination for president.  It was an incredibly bad night for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who, after losing his home state of Florida, badly, suspended his campaign. Ohio Governor John Kasich came in second tonight in terms of delegates, but still finds himself trailing far behind the other candidates.

Here are the results:

Florida Primary – 99% reporting (99 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 45.8% (1,075,505) – 99 delegates
  2. Marco Rubio – 27.0% (635,219)
  3. Ted Cruz – 17.1% (402,632)
  4. John Kasich – 6.8% (159,039)

Ohio Primary – 99% reporting (66 Delegates)

  1. John Kasich – 46.8% (953,646) – 66 delegates
  2. Donald Trump – 35.7% (726,611)
  3. Ted Cruz – 13.1% (266,905)
  4. Marco Rubio – 2.9% (59,215)

North Carolina – 100% reporting (72 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 40.2% (458,117) – 29 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 36.8% (418,628) – 26 delegates
  3. John Kasich – 12.7% (144,289) – 9 delegates
  4. Marco Rubio – 7.7% (87,852) – 5 delegates

Three delegates still have not been allocated yet.

Illinois Primary – 99% reporting (69 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 38.8% (548,528) – 24 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 30.3% (428,363)
  3. John Kasich – 19.7% (278,224)
  4. Marco Rubio – 8.7% (122,206)

45 delegates still need to be allocated, based on Congressional District vote and direct delegate elections.

Missouri Primary – 99% reporting (52 delegates)

This race still has not been called because it is so close. Currently Trump is in the lead, if that holds this is what we’ll look like in terms of delegates with Trump winning the statewide vote and five of the eight congressional districts.

  1. Donald Trump – 40.8% (382,093) – 37 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 40.6% (380,367) – 15 delegates
  3. John Kasich – 10.1% (94,533)
  4. Marco Rubio – 6.1% (57,006)

Northern Marianas Caucus (9 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 72.8% (343) – 9 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 24.0% (113)
  3. John Kasich – 2.1% (10)
  4. Marco Rubio – 1.1% (5)

Current Delegate Count (excluding Missouri and delegates not allocated)

  1. Donald Trump – 621 (50.2% of delegates needed to secure nomination)
  2. Ted Cruz – 396 (32%)
  3. Marco Rubio – 168 (13.6%)
  4. John Kasich – 138 (11.2%)

Some observations:

Why waste a vote?

73,248 people in Florida voted for a candidate who was no longer running. 35,027 in Illinois did the same, as well as 29,677 in North Carolina. In those three states, it doesn’t matter as much because of the margin of victory. In Missouri, however, where there is only 1,726 votes separating Trump and Cruz, 18,529 people voted for someone other than Trump, Cruz, Kasich or Rubio. That could have made a huge difference.

What. A. Waste.

Trump is vulnerable in an open primary.

Trump is not unbeatable in an open primary. We are still waiting for the race in Missouri to be called, but it’s pretty much a split decision. Both Trump and Cruz will take delegates away from the Show Me State.

Cruz and Trump tied among independent voters. Trump has dominated among independents in other states. When the field is winnowed, open primaries are more competitive.

Trump loses among those who value a candidate who shares their values.

Cruz won among those who said that their top quality in a candidate is that they “share my values” in Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina. Kasich won in Ohio with Cruz in second place, and Rubio won in Florida with Cruz in second place.

Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the top priority for self-identified evangelicals. Cruz won among those who identified themselves as evangelicals or “born again” Christians by 16 percent in Missouri. He only won by 2 percent in North Carolina and Illinois, with Trump in second place. Kasich won that group in Ohio by 6 percent over Trump, and Trump won that group by 22 percent in Florida.

Still waiting to hear an evangelical tell me how voting for Trump reflects their worldview.

Voters don’t think Trump is trustworthy.

Voters overwhelmingly thought Trump was not honest and trustworthy — 55 percent in Ohio, 49 percent in North Carolina, 48 percent in Missouri, and 50 percent in Illinois. Florida was the only state where more voters thought Trump was honest and trustworthy than not — 49 percent to 43 percent.

Consistently he leads among those who want a candidate who “tells it like it is.” Do people see the disconnect here?

Also, Trump likes to bash Cruz for “playing dirty,” but more voters thought he ran an unfair campaign than any other candidate. Voters in Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Florida thought Trump ran the most unfair campaign (Missouri voters were not asked this question).

Voters open to a 3rd Party if Trump and Hillary Clinton are the nominees.

Lots of Republican Primary voters would consider voting third party if Trump and Clinton are nominated — 44 percent in Ohio, 39 percent in North Carolina, 43 percent in Missouri, 43 percent in Illinois, and 29 percent in Florida.

Rubio getting out before Florida could have helped Cruz.

The final polling averages in Florida had Rubio losing to Trump by 18.3 percent, and he lost by 18.8 percent. Rubio did outperform his polling by just under 3 percent. Trump did by almost the same margin. No, Cruz did not play spoiler to Rubio in Florida. Even if you gave Rubio all of Cruz’s votes, he still would have lost. The fact is the guy could not win his home state — something both Cruz and Kasich were able to do in convincing fashion.

It’s disappointing that Rubio didn’t get out earlier because not only would it have helped Cruz in North Carolina and Missouri, but losing his home state will not help his future career. The most surprising thing about the Florida Primary results is that Rubio won only one county — Miami-Dade. I thought he would do better than that in South Florida.

Late voters broke away from Trump

In the week leading up to Super Tuesday 3, voters broke toward Kasich over Trump in Ohio — 57 percent to 27 percent, toward Cruz over Trump in North Carolina — 43 percent to 30 percent, toward Cruz over Trump in Missouri — 51 percent to 24 percent, and toward Cruz over Trump in Illinois — 35 percent to 30 percent. The lone exception is Florida, with late voters going for Trump over Rubio, 38 percent to 31 percent. This may not bode well for Trump as we get into later contests as voters have more time to make up their mind.

Winning the nomination is not possible for John Kasich.

While John Kasich won his home state, it is not mathematically possible for him to win the nomination. The only advantage is that Trump has 66 fewer delegates. With the 1,134 delegates still available (as of this writing) Kasich would need to win 96.9 percent of them to reach the threshold he needs. I don’t see why he stays in at this point.

He hasn’t been able to beat Cruz in states like Illinois or Michigan, where he should be able to so. All he’ll do at this point is play spoiler and receive very few delegates. It’s iffy that he will even be on the ballot in Pennsylvania, so I’m not exactly sure what his strategy beyond hoping for a contested convention where he can make a play for the VP slot. He won’t have enough delegates to be nominated at the top of the ticket.

It is mathematically possible for Cruz and Trump. Right now Trump needs to win 54.3 percent of the remaining delegates. Cruz has a tougher road; he will have to win 74 percent of the remaining delegates.

Cruz is the only one who can take down Trump.

An ideal night for Cruz would have been to win Missouri (which, depending on the remaining vote is still possible as of this writing). He will pick up delegates in Illinois and has been allocated delegates in North Carolina. I didn’t expect him to win either state. He did outperform his polling average in North Carolina by 7.8 percent. He also outperformed polling in Missouri by over 11 percent.

Cruz is the only candidate left in the race who has shot at beating Donald Trump in the primaries. Going forward there is a clear choice — Trump or Cruz. A vote for Kasich is a vote for Trump.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles Project, a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com, and the editor of Iowa-based CaffeinatedThoughts.com.