— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 26, 2016
That is a huge, huge result and an enormous gain for Cruz. And there’s more news. It finds that by a margin of 48 to 35 percent, Cruz leads Trump among “very” conservative voters. A 13% lead among base conservatives. Trump still leads among white evangelicals, but only by 5%.
This obviously stung Trump because he immediately lashed out against Fox News which has been shamelessly promoting Trump for months:
Don't believe the @FoxNews Polls, they are just another phony hit job on me. I will beat Hillary Clinton easily in the General Election.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2016
A new poll out shows the same phenomenon taking place in California. To put it in context, since early March Donald Trump has been sitting on a double digit lead. In a new LA Times poll of likely GOP primary voters, Trump leads Ted Cruz by ONE POINT, 36 to 35, with Kasich taking 14% of the vote. From what we have seen so far this cycle, this is utter Armageddon for Trump who usually polls about 5 points higher than his actual vote tally and Cruz typically under-polls by over five.
The internals of the poll show just how terrible a candidate Trump is, he is nearly Hillary-esque in his unpopularity.
Overall, about three-quarters of California voters polled had an unfavorable view of Trump, an eye-opening level for a front-runner. Even among Republicans, only 51% had a favorable impression of Trump, while 43% had an unfavorable view.
And the unfavorable views were expressed with vehemence. Two-thirds of nonpartisan voters, who are essential to any chance of success for a member of the Republican minority in California, had a “very unfavorable” view of Trump. Seventy-seven percent of Latinos, 74% of those under age 50, 67% of women, 61% of men, and more than 3 in 5 voters of all education and income ranks had a very negative view of him.
Views like that make Republican leaders shudder as they ponder the impact Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket could have on down-ballot races. Those fears are real, according to the poll. Almost one-third of voters who described themselves as traditional Republicans said they would refuse to vote for Trump in November, as did 17% of tea party Republicans.
As the Weekly Standard notes, this is not a trivial result:
It’s hard to overstate the importance of California, which has 172 delegates at stake (more than Florida and Ohio combined). California awards almost all of its delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district (3 delegates for each of its 53 congressional districts). If Trump takes all of the delegates in California, he would be within spitting distance of the nomination in this scenario. But mixed results in the Golden State would still leave Trump significantly short of a majority.
A Cruz win in California means that it becomes nearly impossible for Donald Trump to go to Cleveland with the 1237 delegates needed for the nomination and that means he will not be the nominee.