Can Ted Cruz Win Wisconsin? The Texas Senator Has A Fighting Chance In The Badger State

DANE, WI - MARCH 24: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to workers at Dane Manufacturing during a campaign stop on March 24, 2016 in Dane, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Only one thing is for certain in the Republican presidential primary: It's going to be very, very close. Although Donald Trump is leading the rest of the field, it's not at all certain that he'll win the 1,237 delegates needed to get the nomination and avoid a contested convention. Because of this, he has very little room for error, and every state will play a crucial role in determining the eventual nominee. One such state is Wisconsin, where Ted Cruz is trying his hardest to stop Trump in his tracks. Can Ted Cruz win the Wisconsin primary?

There's good reason to believe that yes, he can. According to RealClearPolitics, Trump has an average polling lead of just 1.7 percent in the state. Taking into account the margin of error, that's basically a tie. What's more, the last two surveys of the state have Cruz leading by 1 and 5 points respectively, so this is very much a winnable race for Cruz.

Wisconsin is an especially important state in the Republican primary. It's worth 42 delegates, and is what's informally referred to as a winner-take-most state: The winner in each congressional district gets all three of that district's delegates, and whoever comes in first place statewide gets a bonus of 18 delegates. What this means is that whoever comes away victorious will walk away with more delegates than they would have if the state used proportional allocation. These states are great opportunities for second-place candidates like Cruz to close the delegate gap between them and the front-runner.

All of this drives home one simple fact: The race for delegates is shaping up to be a real nail-biter. The individual forecasts regarding the final delegate count vary slightly — one has Trump winning two more delegates than necessary to clinch the nomination, while others have him falling short by 30 delegates or so, which would force a contested convention. But there's no disagreement that, whatever the final outcome, it's likely going to come down to the wire.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Republicans will simply change the delegate rules at the convention and allow all of the delegates to vote for whomever they please. This would effectively render the primaries and caucuses null and void, and as such, would almost certainly outrage a big chunk of the Republican electorate. But it is perfectly within the RNC's power to do this.

Assuming that doesn't happen, though, every single state's vote is going to count. Wisconsin is one of them, and if polling is any indication, it could be one of Cruz's best chances to stop the Donald in his tracks.

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