So we now have two tracking polls in New Hampshire. ARG is also running a tracker (one that adores John Kasich, for some reason), but today I'm going to draw our attention back to the UMass tracker. It's showing movement for the second tier of candidates that's different from before.
Different in a way that's bad news for Donald Trump.
[caption id="attachment_272073" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, spars with Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right as Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Republican presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson listen during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by ABC News at the St. Anselm College Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)[/caption]
You see, the plurality winner gets the delegates of everyone who doesn't hit 10% in the primary, and the plurality winner is very likely to be Donald Trump. So when most polling putting everyone other than Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz under 10, then Trump was set to clean up in delegates.
But look at the UMass tracker for February 7:
- Donald Trump 34
- Marco Rubio 13
- Ted Cruz 13
- John Kasich 10
- Jeb Bush 10
With five candidates over 10, this would allocate 80% of the delegates according to the vote, meaning the plurality winner would only get a bonus 20% from the third tier of candidates. That's a drain on what Trump was possibly expecting to get in the state.
You can't win the nomination unless you can win a majority of the delegates. There's no such thing as a 'spoiler' effect, because you can't win with just a plurality of delegates. Whoever stands up and thanks everyone in Cleveland will be the one who can put together that majority. One state at a time.