Will John Kasich Drop Out After Indiana? Even His Own State Has Given Up — UPDATE
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is still running for the Republican presidential nomination. Really, he is. The candidate who has only managed to earn 153 delegates with more than three-quarters of the primaries over is not giving up, even though it has long been mathematically impossible for him to win enough delegates to get the nomination. And now, in what might be the most depressing poll ever for the governor, Ohioans want Kasich to drop out. Update 1: On Tuesday night, Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race, leaving just Kasich and Trump in the race.
Update 2: On Wednesday, NBC News, as well as multiple other news outlets, reported that Kasich is dropping out of the GOP presidential race.
Earlier: When even your home state bails on you, it's pretty bad news. In the Public Policy Institute poll released on Monday, 58 percent of Ohio Republican voters said it's time for Kasich to throw in the towel, and 33 percent want him to soldier on. Fewer Republicans than Democrats want Kasich to stay in; 49 percent of everyone polled said he should drop out. That's the same percentage as those who said the presidential run is causing Kasich to skimp out on his gubernatorial duties in the state.
Respondents also expressed displeasure with the amount of taxpayer money the flimsy campaign has cost — 66 percent are not feeling the $450,000 price tag attached to Kasich's security detail. Not exactly the nicest news for the governor to receive alongside what is almost certain to be yet another crushing loss in Indiana's primary on Tuesday.
Kasich's glaring lack of appeal to primary voters and his untenable delegate position raise the obvious question of why he is still running. The answer is that Kasich is really hoping for a brokered convention in July, where he thinks he has a shot at winning. If Donald Trump doesn't get to 1,237 delegates through the primary process, most of the delegates will become unbound from the primary results and can vote for whomever they wish, including John Kasich. So he wants to stay in the race 1) to try to keep as many delegates away from Trump as possible, and 2) in hopes of garnering the favor of potentially-unbound delegates.
It's probably not the most likely course of events — imagine the reaction from Republican voters if the delegates choose the candidate with by far the fewest delegates, reflecting very low support among primary voters. But Kasich is making the case for a rightful claim to the nomination based on how he's performing in hypothetical general election match-up polls. Averages from these polls show that Kasich is the only Republican candidate that's beating Sec. Hillary Clinton. (If you follow Kasich on Twitter, you will get a daily reminder of this.) He's also the one losing by the smallest margin in match-ups with Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Kasich is hoping that the end-game strategy will convince delegates to back him if Trump doesn't secure the nomination before July. We'll see if he's willing to continue irking his home state constituents in pursuit of his presidential goals.