Although presidential front-runners Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump appear poised to sail to victory in Tuesday’s primary races, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll highlights challenges they may face healing deep fissures within their own parties.
Voters in Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Maryland will head to the polls Tuesday in races that could finally determine the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. But all candidates have vowed to stay in the race until the Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer.
From USA Today:
Four in 10 Republicans surveyed aren’t sure whether they’d vote for Trump if he’s the nominee, saying they would consider instead supporting the other party’s nominee or a third-party candidate or just staying home. Among Democrats, four in 10 supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders say they aren’t sure they would vote for Clinton.
If their candidate loses the nomination, voters in both parties split almost evenly over whether that would be because the winner prevailed fair and square — or because the system was rigged.
During primary battles, hard feelings aren’t unusual. But in the GOP this year, opposition to Trump runs deep from some Republican leaders amid alarm about the billionaire businessman’s off-the-cuff policy positions and provocative rhetoric. Among Democrats, Sanders has drawn bigger crowds and more fervent supporters than Clinton, particularly among younger voters.
GOP candidates need 1,237 delegates to seal the nomination. And Trump’s rivals, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, on Monday announced plans to join forces in an effort to block the real estate mogul from earning their party’s nomination, but CNN notes the strategy might backfire.
Trump currently leads the race with 846 pledged delegates. And with a favorable slate of primaries on Tuesday, he could finish the week on the cusp of 1,000. With 502 delegates still up for grabs beginning next week in Indiana, Trump would likely be on track to hit 1,237 and clinch the nomination in June.
The Cruz-Kasich alliance is aimed at dulling that trajectory with the Texas senator focusing on Indiana while the Ohio governor aims his resources at Oregon and New Mexico. Even in the event they sweep those three states — taking 109 delegates off the board — Trump would still be on pace to finish the primary season fewer than 50 votes shy of the magic number.
Anything less, though, would open the door even wider for Trump, effectively guaranteeing him the GOP nod by the last day of voting on June 7.
Who do you think will drop out of the race after Tuesday’s primaries? Sound off in the comments.