March 2, 2016

By ALEX ALEXIEV

The first big round of primaries, known  as Super Tuesday, are now behind us and as expected they have added some clarity to the chances of the competitors, especially on the democratic side.

The Republican Party – As has been the case from the beginning, the republican contest was by far the more dramatic and heavily attended of the two. Super Tuesday confirmed the status of Donald Trump as the prohibitive favorite with seven wins among the 11 state primaries. Ted Cruz won three states (Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska) and Marco Rubio one (Minnesota). The real issue debated  in the GOP competition after Super Tuesday  is whether it is over and Trump is in fact the nominee or not. While many pundits believe that Trump’s advantage now is truly overwhelming, others are less certain. They point out that despite his decisive win, Trump did not get the expected 280-300 delegates, but only around 245. He also lost big in Texas to Cruz and came close to losing to Rubio in Virginia where polls had him ahead by 15 points a week before that. The most interesting result pointed out by Trump opponents was in Oklahoma, which was the only state that allowed only registered republicans to vote.  There Trump lost to Cruz and got only 28% of the vote, very close to third-placed Rubio. This is close to the results of exit polls interviews showing that three out of four GOP voters would not want Trump to be the nominee.

In anyway, neither Cruz nor Rubio have any intention to give up the fight and it appears that it will continue at least until the next big round of primaries on March 15 when Florida is at stake in a winner-take-all contest. Anti-Trump republican strategists now believe that if all or most of the current candidates stay in the race until the end, they can deny Trump a majority of the delegates and defeat him at the convention in Cleveland in July. It is to be noted that a new PAC called Our Principles dedicated to defeating Trump has attracted the support of two prominent republican billionaires (Tod Ricketts and Paul Singer) and is expected to start an anti-Trump media campaign shortly.  As Americans like to say, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings and she hasn’t yet.

The Democratic Party – Things are much clearer on the democratic side after Hillary Clinton inflicted crushing defeats on Bernie Sanders in seven of the eleven contests. Sanders won in Vermont (his home state), Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma. The margin of victory for Clinton in all of these state won by her was made by African-American voters who voted for Clinton by close to 4 to 1 margin. This, of course, means that Sanders has absolutely no chance of becoming the nominee, but that does not mean that he is likely to drop out of the race. Observers close to him believe that he has nearly $40 million in the bank, which will allow him to keep going until the democratic convention and be able to influence the party program with his socialist ideas.

Latest Polls – Since posting the latest polls on the numerous upcoming primary contests becomes increasingly less interesting, from now on we will start posting the current national election match-ups instead.

National match-ups:

Clinton-Trump: 46.5%  - 43.5%

Cruz- Clinton:  46.5% – 45%

Rubio – Clinton: 48.5% – 43.5%