Donald Trump is bleeding delegates left and right. Even delegates pledged to him are ending up preferring other candidates. As a result, if he can’t secure a clear first ballot win, he’ll badly lose the runoff election at the convention.
A near-sweep in New York is vital to Trump. Previous polling has already shown obvious regional weaknesses for him outside of the city, but a new poll suggests the floor may be collapsing out from under him.
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The new Optimus poll shows Trump ahead, sure. It’s his home state. Like Ted Cruz and John Kasich, he needs to clean up at home. But in this poll, statewide he’s under 50% of the vote. If accurate, this is a disaster for Trump.
Every district where Trump falls below 50%, he loses a delegate. Optimus has him below 50 nearly everywhere outside of New York City. As a result of that, this poll has Trump losing 20 delegates to John Kasich and Ted Cruz, according to Phil Kerpen.
The way this works is that New York’s districts only will give all three delegates to the winner, if the winner gets a full 50% of the vote. Otherwise, the delegates are handed out proportionate to the vote. If Trump gets 49% and Kasich or Cruz gets 25%, then Trump gets 2 and Kasich/Cruz gets one. However if Trump can claw up to 50%, then Trump takes all three delegates. As this repeats statewide, it has a huge effect on Trump’s ability to avoid a runoff at the national convention.
The Optimus poll is clearly the worst case scenario for Trump, but now the Overton window has shifted. Donald Trump is fighting for his political life in New York right now. He desperately needs to overperform if he wants the nomination. If Optimus is even close, Trump is toast.
Note that readers of sites like POLITICO are being badly misinformed here. They’re spinning this Optimus poll as good news for Trump, even though the actual primary voting ending up like this poll would doom his candidacy to failure.