A very scary thing is happening for Republicans right now. Donald Trump isn’t just winning against his competitors: He might even steamroll all of them in their own home states.
If, ultimately, Trump were to defeat Ted Cruz in Texas, Marco Rubio in Florida, and John Kasich in Ohio — or even run a close second to any of them on their home turfs — then the damage to his rivals will likely be too much for any of them to continue as plausible contenders.
Quinnipiac University released a poll Tuesday morning for John Kasich’s home state of Ohio, which will hold its winner-take-all primary on March 15. The result was alarming: Trump 31 percent, Kasich 26 percent, Cruz 21 percent, Rubio 13 percent, and Ben Carson at 5 percent.
So what was Kasich’s response? His campaign released a blog post declaring: “When it comes to winning home state primaries, John Kasich is in a far superior position when compared to Senator Rubio.” (More on this later.)
Meanwhile, a new poll out of Texas, which will hold its contest during next week’s Super Tuesday, March 1, showed Cruz barely ahead of The Donald. From University of Texas/The Texas Tribune: Cruz 37 percent, Trump 29 percent, Rubio 15 percent, Kasich 5 percent, and Carson 4 percent — plus 6 percent for Jeb Bush, who was still in the race when the poll was being conducted last week.
If Trump were to attain such a second-place showing in Texas, and if that left Cruz far underneath the 50 percent mark, Cruz’s credibility as a stop-Trump candidate would be utterly trashed. And if Trump were to actually win the Texas primary — well, it would be immediately over for Ted.
The situation in Marco Rubio’s home state of Florida, which will hold its primary the say as Ohio on March 15, is not very clear. There hasn’t been a publicly-released poll of the Sunshine State since mid-January — before the victories by Trump and Cruz, plus Rubio’s efforts to spin his own lesser showings as victories.
But in those mid-January polls, Trump was way ahead:
- CBS News/YouGov had Trump at 41 percent, Cruz 22 percent, and Rubio 18 percent. The state’s former governor Jeb Bush, who just dropped out of the race this past weekend, was at only 4 percent.
- Florida Atlantic University showed Trump at 48 percent, Cruz 16 percent, and Rubio 11 percent. Bush had 10 percent.
- The Florida Times-Union had Trump at 31 percent, Cruz 19 percent, and Rubio 12 percent. Bush was at 13 percent.
One thing is for sure: We should all be very eager to see the next poll out of Florida. After all, it would be well-nigh impossible for Rubio to argue that he is the last competitive alternative to Trump — and the last, best hope of the GOP establishment — if it turned out Trump was still winning back in his home state.
Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young