Donald Trump won big in Nevada, taking 45.9% of the vote and winning 14 delegates. Marco Rubio came in second, with 23.9% and 7 delegates. Ted Cruz was third, with 21.4% and 6 delegates. Then John Kasich, with 4.8% and 1, and Ben Carson, with 3.6% and 1.
Trump was the favorite among evangelicals, conservatives, and even Hispanics. And yet, again, the number of those voting for other candidates was higher than his totals. Rubio took a bigger percentage than he did in South Carolina and was ahead of Cruz by a higher margin. But if anyone is to stop Trump, candidates need to step up by stepping down.
Again, for all of the campaign effort and expense, only a handful of delegates–in this case, 30–were at stake. But next Tuesday, March 1, is Super Tuesday, when 12 states and a territory vote or caucus, with 595 delegates up for grabs (1,004 for Democrats). For both parties, that’s almost half the number needed to nominate. That day could determine the nominees.
From Nate Silver & Harry Enten, Nevada Was Great For Donald Trump, Bad For Ted Cruz | FiveThirtyEight
Let’s get right to the point: Donald Trump had a great night, easily winning the Nevada GOP caucuses on Tuesday. The 46 percent of the vote he received is by far the highest share won by Trump, or any other Republican, in any state so far. Marco Rubio placed a distant second, with 24 percent of the vote, and Ted Cruz finished in third with 21 percent.
If South Carolina, which Trump won Saturday, provided some bits of good news for Trump skeptics — Trump faded over the course of the week and finished with less of the vote than he had in New Hampshire — his victory in Nevada was much more emphatic. Trump proved he could win in a relatively low-turnout environment,1 suggesting that his lack of a traditional “ground game” may not be that harmful to him.
The result underscores that preventing Trump from winning the nomination is likely to require both that anti-Trump Republicans coalesce around an alternative and that they adopt a much more aggressive strategy in probing Trump for signs of weakness. On the first point, anti-Trump Republicans have made some progress: Rubio, who narrowly finished second in both South Carolina and Nevada, has received a cavalcade of endorsements in recent days as Republican “party elites” have increasingly rallied around him as the top alternative to Trump.But there are not yet many signs of a concerted effort to attack Trump. Instead, reports from Politico and other news organizations suggest that potential conservative donors are largely sitting on the sidelines. Remarkably little advertising money has been spent against Trump so far, especially given his position in the race. Rubio has also conspicuously avoided attacking Trump.
Here are a few other stray thoughts about the Nevada result — written early in the morning from New York and not, unfortunately, the New York-New York Hotel and Casino:. . . .
- Tuesday night’s results were very bad news for Cruz. It’s not just that it was his third third-place finish in a row. It’s also how Cruz lost. Hecarried only 27 percent of the white born-again and evangelical Christian vote, behind Trump’s 41 percent. Cruz also lost this group inNew Hampshire and South Carolina. But, unlike in South Carolina, Cruz also trailed among “very conservative” voters in Nevada, 34 percent to Trump’s 38 percent. Finally, Cruz continues to struggle among “somewhat conservative” and moderate voters. He earned just 16 percent and 7 percent among those groups, respectively, according to the entrance poll.
- How about Rubio? Well, he just got blown out by Trump in a state that was once thought to be the most favorable for him of the first four contests. He’ll also have to suffer through a few news cycles of mockery over his second-place “victories.” The good news for Rubio: He beat Cruz for the second state in a row. No, second place is not winning, but Rubio would have better chances against Trump in a smaller field, and the fastest way to shrink the field is to beat Cruz. Rubio did beat his polling average for the third time in four states, although there were no Nevada polls conducted after South Carolina.
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