Who won the 2016 Nevada caucus?
Republicans took to their precincts on Tuesday night to make their vote, and early results show that Donald Trump could he headed for a big night and a very important step toward becoming this November’s Republican nominee.
[UPDATE: Donald Trump has been declared the winner of the 2016 Nevada caucus, with Marco Rubio in second place and Ted Cruz in third.]
With results of the 2016 Nevada caucus starting to come in after 12 a.m. ET, it’s widely expected that Donald Trump will win in a blowout. In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s vote he had captured the momentum, the attention of voters, and seemingly all of the media buzz.
As CNN noted, with all indications pointing toward a Trump victory, the question of who won the 2016 Nevada caucus doesn’t even seem as important as who is able to finish No. 2.
“In interviews with dozens of Republican voters across the state over the last week, many said without hesitation that they were standing firmly with Trump and had given little thought to the other Republican candidates.
“That has meant a pitched battle for second place here between Cruz and Rubio, who both made a final push in Reno and Nevada’s rural areas on Monday. In a sign of his campaign’s confidence in a strong showing, Trump held just one rally in populous Clark County, dispatching his eldest son to campaign for him in Elko — the biggest town in rural northeast Nevada.”
Those who want to follow along with live results of the 2016 Nevada caucus can turn here for instructions on where to find streaming results.
While the 2016 Nevada caucus did not have nearly as much polling as early states like New Hampshire or Iowa — or even South Carolina — the most recent polls suggested that it would not be a close race. There was a poll conducted from February 10 to 16 on behalf of CNN that showed Donald Trump dominating the field with 45 percent support while Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz trailed far behind. Trump rated highest on the economy, illegal immigration, and handling the threat from ISIS, though he didn’t rate as highly on social issues.
— NevadaTeaParty (@TeaPartyNevada) February 24, 2016
Even though the polling was light and considered largely unreliable, the giant margins in favor of Donald Trump have most political experts predicting that he will win easily.
“Trump is going to win Nevada unless something very, very strange happens,” Jon Ralston, the state’s top political analyst, said in an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday (via NPR).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2016
Donald Trump has been a popular figure in Nevada, and quite literally a job creator. There is a bright gold casino on the famous Las Vegas strip bearing his name, and the real estate mogul has made considerable investments in the city over the last few decades.
Trump has even been able to grab voters outside of his normal demographic, another sign pointing toward a huge victory when the 2016 Nevada caucus results come in.
“What we’ve seen over the last few weeks is that there have been a lot of Mormon voters that have now come to Mr. Trump,” Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald told NPR‘s Audie Cornish. “I can’t explain it. It’s clearly above my pay grade.”
The 2016 Nevada caucus results could have bigger implications for Donald Trump. With so many other Republicans still in the race, he has been able to take advantage of the fractured voter base and win with margins well below 50 percent so far. But if some of the lower rung candidates — namely Ohio governor John Kasich — were to perform poorly and drop out, it could help either Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz gain more support and take on Trump.
So the question of who won the 2016 Nevada caucus may not be the most important one answered on Tuesday night.
[Picture by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]