Gov. John Kasich is at risk of losing his home turf of Ohio to Donald J. Trump, according to a new poll that shows the billionaire Republican presidential candidate leading in the state.
A Quinnipiac University survey released on Tuesday found that 31 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Ohio back Mr. Trump, while 26 percent support Mr. Kasich. Senator Ted Cruz trails them with 21 percent, followed by Senator Marco Rubio with 13 percent and Ben Carson with 5 percent.
Kasich has basically punted Super Tuesday and is basing his candidacy, such as it is, on his perceived strength in the Old Northwest and Upper Midwest where, allegedly, Republican primary voters are more moderate than their slack-jawed brethren in the South.
Likewise, Rubio's backers have based their hopes on the notion that Rubio will pull in those moderate voters and Ted Cruz is over after Super Tuesday.
In fact, where Rubio has hoped the "establishment lane" voters will coalesce around him, it seems as though the GOP establishment is a lot less offended by Trump than conservatives think they are. For instance, Jon Huntsman, says he is open to backing Trump:
Huntsman said there are aspects of Trump's platform he finds attractive.
"He's strong on things like campaign finance reform and I think it's going to take an extraordinarily unique leader to stand up and say that the way that we're doing this on the campaign finance side is broken and we need to fix it," Huntsman said, adding Trump is "right about bringing aboard a new generation of the best and the brightest and wiping out the old Washington establishment and the old Washington culture."
"I'd love to see someone stand up who's a total outsider and see if that can be done because I think it would actually be a pretty healthy thing," he said.
I think one can expect, based on such semi-endorsements, to see Bush voters break to Trump because anyone who is still interested in voting for Bush probably loathes Rubio. When Kasich folds, let's not forget his campaign manager was Huntsman's campaign manager in 2012 and don't be surprised to see a Kasich endorsement of Trump.
As I said yesterday, this primary is now Donald Trump's to lose.