The following is an excerpt from Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann | April 25, 2016 | msnbc.com |
First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Why the Cruz-Kasich alliance could backfire
On paper, the alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich – whereby Kasich will skip the May 3 Indiana primary to help Cruz against frontrunner Donald Trump, while Cruz will skip Oregon (May 17) and New Mexico (June 7) to help Kasich – makes a lot of sense. After all, when you add up the Cruz-Kasich percentages in recent polls, that number beats Trump’s percentage. The alliance is also necessary, given that the three public polls out of Indiana now show Trump ahead – and if Trump wins the Hoosier State, it’s game over for Cruz and Kasich. But we can count three reasons why last night’s announced alliance/truce could end up backfiring. One, it plays right into Trump’s argument that Republican forces are conspiring against him, and that the contest is rigged. Indeed, he released this statement last night: “When two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters, (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race) it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system. This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!”
All Kasich supporters in Indiana aren’t going to vote for Cruz
Two, it’s not a sure thing that all of Kasich’s voters in Indiana will support Cruz. According to a Fox poll released over the weekend – which showed Trump leading Cruz in the Hoosier State by eight points, 41%-33% – 53% of Kasich voters said Cruz would be their second choice, while 22% said it would be Trump. So without Kasich in the equation, the Indiana contest becomes much closer. But it doesn’t guarantee a win for Cruz. What’s more, Kasich is STILL on the ballot, and he hasn’t instructed his supporters in Indiana to vote for Cruz; instead, he just said he won’t actively campaign in the state. And Indiana voters have been voting absentee since April 5, which means some Kasich supporters have already voted for the Ohio governor. In fact, that same Fox poll (conducted April 18-21) found that 4% of Indiana Republicans had already voted in the primary, and that sliver of the electorate could matter in a close contest.
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