After Cruz' smashing win in Wisconsin, it's on to New York. Will the Empire State break Cruz' momentum and give Trump back his lead?
The key lies in the rules. Fourteen of New York's ninety-five delegates will be elected at large and there remaining eighty-one will be chosen with three allocated to each of the twenty-seven congressional districts.
If a candidate gets fifty plus percent of the vote statewide or in any congressional district, he gets all the delegates statewide or in any such district. But if he falls short of fifty percent, he gets only a proportionate share of the fourteen delegates chosen at large. And, if he falls short of the fifty percent threshold in any district, but nevertheless finishes first, he gets two of the three delegates and the second place finisher gets one delegate from that district.
So, for Donald Trump, the key question is: Will he finish over 50%? If he does, he will win all 95 delegates at stake. But if he falls consistently short of 50% in each district, he will surrender at least 27 delegates to Cruz or Kasich, whoever finishes second.
The difference between winning 95 delegates and 68 is, for Trump, enormous. His ability to win on the first ballot could well be at stake.
The most recent poll, by CBS News/U Gov on April 1 showed Trump at 52% with Cruz at 21% and Kasich at 20%. If Trump should fall below 50% in districts across the state, he may lose at least 27 critically needed votes.
The irony of the New York State delegate selection process is that each congressional district gets three delegates. I doesn't matter if the district is a Democratic or Republican district, they still get three votes at the GOP convention. In Republican districts upstate and in the suburbs, hundreds of thousands of voters will decide the allocation of the district's three delegates. But in Democratic districts, particularly in minority areas, a tiny turnout, perhaps of only twenty or thirty thousand will decide the district's allocation.
A total of 191,000 registered Republicans live in districts represented by an African-American or Latino congressmen. The districts' Republican registration is as follows:
5 CD = 54,000
7 CD = 28,000
8 CD = 34,000
9 CD = 31,000
13 CD = 27,000
15 CD = 17,000
Total = 191,000 If the Republicans in these districts choose to reject Trump, they can have a vastly disproportionate pact, possibly denying him twelve delegates (two each) from the six minority districts. Add this to one each (the loser's share) of the other twenty-one districts and Trump could lose as many as 33 of New York's 95 delegates, a key setback.
Will Cruz be able to do it? Will Kasich? Cruz has the advantage both because of his incredible Wisconsin wipeout but also because he is the only candidate with money. Kasich doesn't have much and Trump has shown himself unwilling to dig deep into his personal fortune.