Poll: Cruz's Plan to Stop Trump Backfires Big Time

Indiana voters aren't pleased with divide-and-conquer scheme
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2016 7:22 AM CDT
Poll: Cruz's Plan to Stop Trump Backfires Big Time
Donald Trump speaks as Sen. Ted Cruz listens during a Republican presidential debate at the University of Miami on March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The tables have turned for Sen. Ted Cruz in Indiana ahead of Tuesday's primary vote, though not in the direction he was hoping. On Saturday night, the Indianapolis Star reported that the Texas senator had a healthy 16-point lead over Trump in voter support (44.8% to 29%, per a Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics tally, with Kasich trailing at 13.3%). But less than 24 hours later, the Star cited a new poll with much different numbers: According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Sunday, Trump now has nearly the same percentage-point lead, with 49% to Cruz's 34% and Kasich's relatively steady 13%. "Trump is positioned to corral all the [state's 57] delegates, which will be a big prize toward winning the nomination outright," the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion says in a statement.

Not that the initial poll with Cruz in the lead seemed to be a lock: The Star on Saturday noted that a RealClearPolitics aggregation of six polls had come up with a 2.3-point lead for Trump (by Sunday it was up to 4.1 points and currently stands at 7.8), while the director of the Mike Downs Center had warned that the "volatility of the electorate means all campaigns should view these results cautiously." More tellingly, the more recent NBC poll shows what the Washington Post frames as "abject voter disgust" with Cruz and Kasich's takedown plan, with a majority of voters (58%) disapproving of their idea to split up the primaries to keep Trump's delegate count down. Meanwhile, on the Democrats' side, the NBC poll shows Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Bernie Sanders at 50% versus 46% and a 2.1-point margin of error—meaning it's more or less a dead heat, the Star notes. (More Donald Trump 2016 stories.)

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