Who Is Going to Defeat Trump? (II)
It is often assumed that Trump would eventually lose in a smaller field of candidates because there is a ceiling to his support that he has already reached. The latest YouGov survey suggests that this is wrong:
If we dig into the poll a bit more, we find that Trump’s support is fairly evenly distributed across all regions. His weakest region is the West (30%) and his best is the Northeast (42%), but he still leads Cruz by five points in the West and beats Rubio in the Northeast by 27. In the South, where Cruz is often assumed to have an advantage over him, Trump is ahead by 17 points, and he has the same lead over Cruz in the Midwest. Rubio is strongest in the West and Northeast (15% in both), and very weak in the Midwest and the South (7% and 9%). Cruz does best in the West and the South (25% and 21%), he does almost as well in the Midwest (19%), and does the worst in the Northeast (11%).
In a three-way contest, Trump’s lead expands in every region except the South, where he still leads Cruz by 12. Rubio doesn’t lead in any region, and Cruz consistently beats Rubio in each one. Even in their strongest regions, neither Cruz nor Rubio can catch the front-runner. It appears that winnowing isn’t going to change the structure of the race, and it seems that Trump still has room to gain more support as other candidates drop out.