By Dave Andrusko
Two recent polls put Texas Senator Ted Cruz ahead of Donald Trump in Wisconsin (by 5 and 10 points, respectively) while Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is narrowly ahead of Hillary Clinton in a new Marquette University Law School poll.
While a Sanders win in the Badger State next week by itself would not seem to change the delegate dynamics on the Democratic side, should Trump lose decisively, it would increase the odds he would not have the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the Republican presidential nomination and thus a contested convention.
Harry Enten, writing for fivethirtyeight.com carefully tracked and probed the results of the Basswood Research poll, which put Cruz’s lead at 5 percentage points, and the poll conducted by Marquette University Law School, which had Cruz enjoying a 10 percentage point cushion.
“Wisconsin has 42 delegates — 18 go to the statewide winner and three go to the winner of each of the state’s eight congressional districts,” Enten explained. In other words, if Cruz wins the state, he has a base of 18 delegates plus three from each CD he wins.
The Marquette poll has a regional breakdown of its results.
“Cruz holds comfortable leads in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee suburbs and Green Bay,” Enten explains. “Those roughly align with the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th congressional districts. If Cruz wins all these districts, he’ll take an additional 15 delegates. If the Marquette poll proves accurate, Trump will be competitive only in the Madison television market and the northern and western parts of the state, roughly the 2nd, 3rd and 7th congressional districts.”
Gov. John Kasich in ahead in one district–the 2nd congressional district area, home to the University of Wisconsin. Enten concludes
If Trump were to lose the 2nd congressional district to Kasich, in addition to the five districts to Cruz, that would leave only the six delegates up for grabs in the 3rd and 7th districts — and the trends there, in the state’s north and west, aren’t good for Trump.
“Overall, if the Marquette poll is dead accurate, the delegate count from Wisconsin will likely break down something like Cruz 33 to 39, Trump 0 to 6, and Kasich 3.”
Meanwhile that same Marquette University Law School poll showed Sanders upping his modest lead over Clinton from one percentage point (44% to 43%) to four percentage points )49% to 45%).
This comes on the heels of Sanders’ sweep in caucuses in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii and an uptick in his national support among Democrats and Democratic-leaners.