I was there 10 days ago and posted this, which I bumped up today to share with those who may have missed this from February 15, 2016.
The RNC, which is probably not on my side, just illegally put out a fundraising notice saying Trump wants you to contribute to the RNC.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2016
The Republican Establishment and the Conservative Commentariat assume that if all these lesser candidates dropped out, they could defeat Trump in a three-way race.
Well, we all know about assumptions. Let us do the math.
Using the Real Clear Politics Average Of Polls, we find The Donald at 29.5%, Cruz at 21%, and Rubio at 17.8. Sounds simple. Splitting the votes from the dropouts between Cruz and Rubio means Trump will finish third as such a split would put Cruz at 36.85%, Rubio at 33.65%, and Trump at 29.5%.
Sounds good, except what do you do with Kasich's 4%? Would all of those voters go to Rubio or would some of that 4% bleed to The Donald? Because Trump has done far better than even Kasich among liberals and moderates.
And what about Carson's 7.8%? Would they pick Trump over Cruz? Because after Iowa, many Carson supporters despise Cruz.
Christie's 2.5% are likely not going to the other two because his supporters seem more Donald-like.
So you have more than a third of the voters that Cruz and Rubio need actually leaning to The Donald. Oh dear.
If Trump gets the votes of Christie and Kasich and half of Carson's, and adds them to what he already has, Trump wins a three-way with 39.9%.
But there is another factor not considered. Some of that 31.7% left behind by those dropping out simply won't vote. And a non-vote goes to the leader. If they all sit home, The Donald wins by 8.5%. And any vote for Trump widens his lead.
So instead of two ways, the vote would be split four ways. In order for Cruz and Rubio to split the vote and win, they would need no more than 20% of the outstanding votes (6.34%) to stay home or no more than 10% of the outstanding votes (3.17%) to go to Trump.
This scenario also requires Trump not to bring in any more new voters to the party.
So a split of the vote between Cruz and Rubio most likely favors Trump.
OK, the theory of a three-way also goes that either Cruz or Rubio would win the 31.7% the losers leave behind. That would win for either one.
But Cruz relies very heavily on the evangelical Christian support, particularly in his Get Out The Vote effort. Both Huckabee and Santorum followed that path to a dead end. And Rubio has a longer way to go to catch up.
Also, most of the dropout vote going to one guy is unlikely to stop Trump because it would require Trump's share to remain static or to rise very little.
And keeping his votes from rising is also iffy because polls show that Trump is the second choice for many Republicans. And while Cruz is slightly ahead of Trump when first and second choices are combined, the numbers are occluded by how many of Trump's second choices are among Cruz and Rubio voters, how many seconds for Cruz are Trump and Rubio voters, and how many seconds for Rubio are Trump and Cruz voters.
Rubio's hope is that most of Trump's seconds are from Cruz voters and most of Cruz's are from Trump voters, which would render them meaningless.
But wait, there is more. How many Bush seconds are for Carson, Christie or Fiorina? Et cetera. This works to Trump's favor because another question is will a voters go with their third, fourth or fifth choice?
In order for Rubio to win, he has to make up an 11.7% deficit among 31.7% of the vote (again, assuming that 31.7% is static. Therefore, in order to win Rubio needs more than half of that 31.7% (or 15.85) and hope that Trump and Rubio split the remainder in such a way that neither man gets more than 33.6%. Unlikely because that would mean Cruz getting no more than 12.6 of the 31.7 and Trump no more than 4.1 of the 31.7. And even then it is a very narrow win.
Cruz appears to have a better chance because his gap is smaller. However, because so many in the establishment hate him, it is unlikely that he would get enough votes to topple Trump.
Here is what we do know. The Republican Establishment and the Conservative Commentariat have been against The Donald even before Day One. He is now the only candidate to both win and finish second in a primary/caucus. He has the most votes. He has the most delegates.
Trump is likely to continue dominating the field not because the field is too crowded but because his numbers follow the Bush/Dole.Bush/McCain/Romney line more closely than any other candidate. Cruz follows Huckabee/Santorum. I have no idea who the vote the others follow -- and neither do they.
What is the likeliest outcome if 31.7% of the voters are suddenly unleashed to the three remaining candidates? The possibilities are numerous, but likely favor Trump because the median outcome is that they will be split the other votes the same way they split the votes they already have, making the outcome:
Trump 43.2%Those are not the odds of winning, but rather the midpoint of the various outcomes.
Those median figures mean in 50% of the scenarios, Trump has an even wider lead -- and he also wins in a large percentage of the below-median scenarios. Far from damaging Trump, he would do even better in a three-way. Instead of being up 8.5 points, he has a 50% chance of being up 12.5 points or more in a three-way.
At any rate, the math shows he is the most likely to win in a three-way battle.
Using the Reuters tracking poll, the numbers are better for The Donald. The median for that poll when extrapolated to a three-way race are:
Trump 55.6%Forget the polls for a minute. Follow the pols. Who is drawing the biggest crowds in the most places?
Trump drew a capacity crowd in Vermont. Vermont! Bernie's state.
Cruz draws big crowds too, but we are not seeking a pastor-in-chief.
The rest of the pack are Sominex candidates, including Rubio.
And that is what the polls seem to reflect.