Days of Change

Dancing on the Ceiling | March 9, 2016

How popular is Donald Trump?

In terms of the nomination, Donald Trump only has to win a majority of the delegates. Right now, he has won 15 out of 23 contests and 44% of the delegates. He is poised to gain delegates at an even higher rate in winner-take all contests. In most states, even a plurality of the vote would be enough to win every delegate.

In 2009, I wrote about the danger of the Tea Party creating a 35% threshold for Democrats winning a three-way race. For the most part, that hasn’t happened. Now, there’s the possibility that in a 4 man race, 35% could be the threshold for a clean sweep by Donald Trump. That’s what pollsters considered his ceiling.

Is that true? Whenever Trump would exceed that 35% vote, his supporters jeered detractors. Now that nearly half the races are over, I did something pretty simple. I averaged all the percentages Trump got in every contest thus far, excluding Puerto Rico (sorry Marco). What’s his average? 35.2%.

Even though Trump got over 40% in 6 contests, he got less than 30% in 6 others. A “rolling average” updated for each vote shows the same thing. The trend line hasn’t grown by more than 0.7% since the Nevada caucuses. He’s getting 35% and that’s enough. He hasn’t picked up a large segment of voters relative to other candidates who dropped out and he hasn’t gotten a majority once.

This may actually be the “hostile takeover” of the GOP everyone likes to say it is. Trump only needs a controlling share of the vote. 1/3 + 1 may be all it takes. Right now, that’s his ceiling.



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