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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What America Thinks: Presidential Primary Update

Last week’s New York primaries put Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump back on track. Today’s primaries in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware and Rhode Island are friendly territory for the two front-runners and are likely to go a long way toward putting to rest the race for the nomination in both parties.

We know what America thinks so far. Ninety-one percent (91%) of Democrats nationwide believe Clinton is likely to be their eventual nominee, and 83% of Republicans say the same of Trump.

Going into today’s primaries, Clinton has 1,930 of the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination, while Bernie Sanders has 1,189. There are 384 up for grabs today, enough to push Clinton very close to the finish line. For Sanders, it’s a long shot even in the highly unlikely event that he sweeps the table today. Clinton already has an overwhelming advantage among the party’s superdelegates, individuals selected by the party who can support any candidate at the convention regardless of who wins their state's popular vote. Sanders and his supporters have been complaining about the fairness of that system for weeks, but party leaders aren’t budging. Interestingly, just 30% of all Democrats approve of the use of superdelegates.

Trump currently has 845 of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Another 172 are in play in today’s primary states, and Trump’s remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, are hoping to pick up as many of them as they can. Cruz has won 559 delegates so far, while Kasich has just 148. Neither one has a realistic chance of getting to 1,237 in the remaining primaries, but they want to stop Trump from reaching the magic number in hopes that a contested convention would result. Cruz and Kasich both think the party might then turn to them. But even before Trump’s New York win, 51% of Republicans said the candidate who enters the convention with the most delegates should be the party’s nominee. If he keeps winning primaries, that number is likely to grow.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.