One of the states that will be picking delegates Tuesday is Arkansas. Let’s walk you through it.
- Polling on this state has been, bluntly, sparse (see also here). The last useful poll is from February (the previous one was from last year!), and it shows Ted Cruz ahead by four (27%) of both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump (both at 23%). I find it hard to imagine that there won’t be another poll dropping in the next two or three days (or even before this piece gets published!), but it all depends on the pollsters.
- There are forty delegates that will be allocated on a proportional basis. Each Congressional District gets three delegates, with the first-place winner getting two delegates and the second place delegate getting one. The remaining twenty-eight delegates will be handed out proportionally: every candidate who gets above 15% will receive a delegate, with the remainder being handed out proportionally. Note that if one candidate gets 50% of the vote, he wins all the delegates: also note that this would be a decidedly low-probability scenario. The primary is open.
- In the endorsement wars: Marco Rubio has the endorsement of Governor Asa Hutchinson and a bunch of state legislators. Ted Cruz has the endorsement of RNC National Committeewoman Jonelle Fulmer and a bunch of state legislators. Donald Trump has the endorsement of… Sarah Huckabee. Now, it would not surprise me if Sarah’s father former governor and unsuccessful Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee endorsed Donald Trump on, say, Monday. It would also not surprise me if Huckabee did not.
- In terms of visits: Ted Cruz does not seem to be making any stops directly in Arkansas before Super Tuesday. Donald Trump will be making one today at Bentonville. Marco Rubio has a rally today and one Monday, both with Governor Asa Hutchinson.
- My prediction? …Well, the lack of polling doesn’t really give me the best feel for the situation, but it looks like Rubio is the one who is most definitely trying to win it. And I don’t particularly see any evidence that Donald Trump’s going to win it, either. I even looked over at 538.com, and they’re not even looking at this race. So, absent any other indication at all… Cruz and Rubio fight it out for first place. Rubio might even have the edge. And, again, that may change as soon as we have fresh information.
- As for ad buys: all three campaigns are spending money, with Cruz spending the most and Trump spending the least (oh, yes, Trump’s buying ad time now). Cruz seems to have an edge there, but not an impossible one. Note that I am including allies to the candidates in that, because let’s be honest, OK?
- One last note: old Arkansas polling showed, unsurprisingly, that Mike Huckabee was a very popular choice in that state. The one recent poll we have suggests that that support just went to Rubio and Cruz, and definitely not Trump. It’s weird that this state is so much of a mystery, four days before the polling.