Donald Trump is looking at a do-or-die contest in Indiana this week, and the polls show that he has a big task ahead of him.
Tuesday’s primary in the Hoosier State is a winner-take-all contest, one that Trump badly needs to remain on path to reach the 1,237 delegate threshold and avoid a contested Republican National Convention later this summer.
Trump has been playing up the importance of the contest, saying on Thursday at a rally in Evansville that if he wins Indiana, “it’s over.”
His opponents have been saying the opposite. The growing “Never Trump” movement is looking to Indiana as a chance to blunt the momentum Trump has gained from his big win in New York and his sweep in last Tuesday’s primaries.
If Trump fails to reach the threshold for winning the nomination outright, it seems he would lose on a second or third ballot. His opponents have been stacking delegates with ones who will turn against Trump after the first vote, when delegates are bound to the candidate who won their state or district.
Donald Trump has a lot working against him in Indiana. Earlier this week, Ted Cruz and John Kasich issued a joint announcement that their campaigns would be coordinating to stop Donald Trump.
“Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation,” the statement read. “To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead. In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win.”
The shaky agreement hadn’t held up long. On Thursday, Cruz downplayed the idea that he and Kasich had an alliance, saying instead they made a “determination where to focus our energies.”
That may not help Trump in Indiana, where he faces opposition beyond his primary opponents. Even Indiana Governor Mike Pence said that he would be voting for Cruz in Tuesday’s primary.
“I’m not against anybody, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary,” Pence said via The Hill), though he did praise Donald Trump for giving a “voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans.”
Recent polls show that Donald Trump has an uphill battle in Indiana. A recent poll by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics shows that Cruz has a 16-point lead over Trump among registered voters, winning 45 percent to 29 percent.
There could still be room for Trump to make up some ground, however. The poll found that 13 percent of voters are still undecided.
“This is good news for Cruz, but the volatility of the electorate means all campaigns should view these results cautiously,” pollster Andrew Downs said in a statement.
While the poll is alarming for Donald Trump, it may be an outlier. Real Clear Politics shows that Trump still has an average lead of 2.3 percent in Indiana when all other polls are included.
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