The Indiana primary is rapidly approaching, and it may well be the last chance for the #NeverTrump crowd to succeed in its one and only goal. Donald Trump could still win the nomination even if he loses in Indiana, but if he wins the Hoosier State, it’s going to be very difficult for the other candidates to stop him from obtaining a majority of delegates. Unfortunately, primary polling in Indiana is all over the place, and we’ll probably have no real inkling of the winner until the night of the vote.
On Saturday, a poll came out that had Ted Cruz leading Trump by 16 points in Indiana. That’s a pretty big margin, and in any other circumstance, it would be legitimate cause for optimism in the Cruz camp. And yet a different poll was released the same day that came to the exact opposite conclusion: It showed Trump leading Cruz by 15 points. A disparity like that is pretty rare, especially four days before a state votes.
By and large, Trump has been leading in Indiana polls, but it’s a rather small lead of 4.1 percent on average, according to Real Clear Politics. The picture is muddy enough that the forecasters over at FiveThirtyEight have waffled on the state several times. Their current projection favors Trump to win the state, but less than a week ago, it favored Cruz. Before that, it favored Trump.
Indiana, then, is a bit of a mystery. That said, Trump does lead in more polls than not, and in the last six states to hold primaries, his actual vote share has exceeded his polling average on voting day. Trump may not be a shoo-in for Indiana, but he certainly has more reason to be hopeful than Cruz.
Indiana is worth 57 delegates, and it’s getting a ton of media attention right now. But that’s mainly because it’s the next state to vote, and no other states vote on that day. The biggest delegate prize remaining is still California, which votes on June 7th and will award 172 delegates in the last contest of the cycle.
Barring an unprecedented collapse in support for Cruz, we won’t know who the nominee will be until the night of the California primary — at the absolute earliest. It’s still possible that no candidate will win a majority of delegates in the primaries, in which case there will be a contested convention in July. Indiana is important, but it isn’t the end of the line. There’s still plenty more primary to go around.