The Indiana presidential primary election will take place on Tuesday, May 3, and the question of who will win may be a hotter one on the Republican side than for the Democrats. The key midwestern state will also be crucial to deciding whether Bernie Sanders can continue to compete against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, as well as whether Donald Trump can put an end to the “Stop Trump” movement once and for all.
As has often been the case in the 2016 presidential primary races, the Indiana primary has been surrounded by controversy — legitimate or not. After conspiracy theories had circulated about “rigged” elections in previous states, a local Indiana TV station inadvertently fed the fire by posting a graphic apparently showing the final vote totals, nearly a week before the primary itself would be held.
On April 26, the following graphics appeared briefly on WNDU screens, and were quickly circulated on social media.
On a more serious note, Republican challenger Ted Cruz, the ultra-conservative senator from Texas, said on Friday that the results of the Indiana Republican primary will determine the outcome of the GOP race for the party’s presidential nomination.
“It gives me great comfort that this primary is going to be decided by the Midwestern common sense of the Hoosier State,” Cruz said in a Fox News Town Hall interview.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 29, 2016
Cruz also went on the blast Republican frontrunner and probable nominee Donald Trump as one of “the greatest frauds in modern electoral history.” But Cruz would not commit to dropping out of the race if he loses the Indiana primary to Trump on Tuesday.
According to polls, Cruz will indeed lose to Trump, but it’s going to be close, and a final surge could turn the tide.
Watch Free Beacon editor Liz Harrington analyze the Indiana primary race in the video below.
The most recent Republican poll in Indiana, conducted by American Research Group and released Friday, shows Donald Trump leading Cruz by nine percentage points. But a Clout Research poll completed just one day earlier put Trump ahead by only two points.
To make the Indiana Republican primary even more confusing, a poll that came out on April 29 and conducted by the Mike Downs Center For Indiana Politics showed a very different result. In that poll, Cruz led Trump by an astonishing 16 points.
The election-forecasting site FiveThirtyEight.com, which has been accurate in projecting the Republican primaries so far in 2016, gives Trump a 70 percent probability of winning the Indiana primary. The weighted polling average compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows Trump in the lead by three slim points, with 37.1 percent to 34.1 for Cruz.
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On the Democratic side, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has vowed to continue his campaign for “political revolution” all the way to the Democratic convention, but after his crushing defeats in four of five east coast primaries held April 26, Sanders has begun to scale back his campaign.
After laying off “hundreds” of staffers last week, the Sanders campaign cut $200,000 from its TV advertising budget in Indiana. But Sanders is still, nonetheless, spending $1 million on ads in the state.
Hillary Clinton has elected to spend no money at all on TV ads in Indiana.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 29, 2016
Sanders also has three of his signature “Future to Believe In” rallies scheduled for Monday in Indiana as the polls have shown him making gains on Clinton, pulling to within five points of the former Secretary of State in a CBS News/YouGov poll last week after trailing by as many as 15 in an earlier poll by the Mike Downs Center.
But the FiveThirtyEight polling average still shows Clinton — despite a zero advertising budget and limited campaign appearances in the state — with a convincing 7.9 point lead at 49.4 percent to 41.5 for Bernie Sanders, who must win the Indiana Primary just to maintain the credibility of his “political revolution” as it heads into the final month of the campaign.
[Featured Photos By John Sommers II / Getty Images]