Ted Cruz is in prime position to win Utah’s GOP presidential caucus on Tuesday, but whether he will get a clear majority is in some question. Additionally, Donald Trump could leave Utah without winning a single Republican delegate.
A new survey from Y2 Analytics shows Cruz has a solid base of support among likely GOP caucus attendees at 38%. Another 13% say they support Cruz but could change their vote.
The same poll shows Ohio Governor John Kasich with 16%. Another 12% say they support him but may change their mind.
Donald Trump is way behind in third place, with just 7%. Another 3% say they’re behind him but could alter their vote.
Utah has 40 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. If a candidate reaches a simple majority, they will win all 40 of those delegates. If not, then they are awarded proportionally, but a candidate has to reach at least 15% to be awarded delegates.
That’s why Cruz and Trump’s numbers in the survey are so intriguing. Cruz, if he holds on and gets 50%, it would be the second time he has won an outright majority in this election cycle. The other was Wyoming where he got 66%. However, Wyoming’s delegates are not bound to any candidate, so that doesn’t count for much.
Because of the large GOP field this cycle, no other state has seen a candidate grab a majority. Only a few have come close:
Massachusetts: Trump – 49.3%
Kansas: Cruz – 48.2%
Mississippi: Trump – 47.3%
Ohio: Kasich – 46.8%
Trump’s 10% total support has got to be worrying, as he’s on the verge of being shut out of delegates for the first time in this election cycle. In fact, the only states where Trump has finished out of the top-two are Wyoming, Idaho and Minnesota, yet he still pulled in delegates in those states. The only contests so far where Trump failed to pick up delegates were Puerto Rico, Guam, Washington, D.C. and Ohio, but Ohio was a “winner take all” primary.
Y2’s Scott Riding says Trump’s poor showing in the poll could signal a turning point in the GOP race.
“The striking thing about this poll is the threshold-level support for Senator Cruz. Senator Rubio’s campaign suspension this week boosted Cruz into a position to take it all,” said Riding. “If your top priority as a Utah voter is curbing Trump’s momentum, here’s your chance.”
Arizona also votes Tuesday, with 58 delegates up for grabs in another “winner take all” primary. That’s one reason Utah’s rules giving every delegate to a candidate if they could win a majority could be key in either stopping Trump or forcing a contested convention. According to polling out of Arizona, Trump is poised to win that state’s entire delegate haul this week. According to the Real Clear Politics delegate count, Trump leads with 678 delegates, while Cruz has 423. While a clear majority win for Cruz on Tuesday won’t cut into Trump’s lead, it would go a long way toward slowing his momentum.