By Sal Bommarito
Many people are saying that the Republican primary contest is all but over. Not so fast, a new poll by Fox shows Trump in the lead against Cruz and Kasich, but the trend lines are not favorable for him.
Fox asked Republican voters, “Who would you like to see as the Republican presidential candidate?” The result of the poll was:
It should be noted that Cruz and Kasich’s percentages have doubled since February, while Trump is up a mere 5 points. Bush, Carson and Rubio dropped out of the race during this period of time.
In general election head to head match-ups against Clinton, the polls were very revealing. They were:
*Kasich has a 36-point advantage among independents. He was selected by 17% of Democrats, the largest among the Republican contenders.
This data indicates that Kasich would be the best candidate, by far, to face Clinton. And, he is the most likely candidate to find support from outside the Republican Party.
Before anyone gets too worked up about these poll results, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first issue is that Kasich cannot get 1,237 delegates before the convention. The only way he can become the nominee is if the Republican convention is contested, meaning that none of the three candidates reach 1,237 delegates. Given that Kasich runs the best against Clinton, he should receive a lot of attention if the convention goes beyond the first round ballot.
Another fact is that both Trump and Cruz could still get to 1,237 (Cruz is a very long shot) before the convention. If neither man reaches the magic number, logic would have you believe that one of them would be the odds on favorite to win in subsequent ballots, and not Kasich. Ironically, if Kasich drops out of the race after the first ballot and endorses one of the two others, they would likely win the nomination. This is a very powerful position to occupy.
And finally, another cloud hangs over the convention. If Trump feels that he is being treated unfairly, he could elect to run as an independent drawing general election votes from the Republican nominee. This would surely give the election to Clinton.
Frankly, the thought of any of these contingencies, and not a Trump victory on the first ballot, is very enticing. A victory by Kasich as a unity candidate would be a windfall. It would be beneficial for Republicans to have a president that is an experienced statesman and well versed in the economy and foreign affairs. And, it would be terrific to have a nominee who can beat Clinton.