After Donald Trump’s big day on Tuesday, he’s the only GOP candidate with a chance of getting the 1,237 delegates before the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland. There’s very little polling in the remaining states, so most of our model is based on national polling. There’s additional uncertainty, as California is essentially 54 separate winner-take-all contests, and we only have polling for one of them.
With all of those caveats aside, we see Trump entering Cleveland with 1,206 pledged delegates. This number assumes he loses Indiana (he currently leads), but wins Nebraska (which could be Cruz country). It does not include the unbound delegates that he is likely to woo from Pennsylvania and others that he could patch together to get 1,237. We think it is more likely than not that Trump gets 1,237 votes on the first ballot.
The question everyone will be asking before that first convention ballot is cast is whether the Republicans will have a contested convention. Answer: they already are. With Trump the only candidate that can win outright, the fact that there are still candidates running against him – and that he could still lose states to those candidates – is a form of contested convention. Any non-Trump vote from now until June 7 is a vote for a contested convention. The fact that Trump can’t get Cruz and Kasich to drop out, even when (in a traditional year), he has already won, suggests strongly against party unity in July and August.
Does the #NeverTrump crowd have a chance? Sure, but not a strong one. They essentially need a shutout for the next two weeks in order to keep a blocking action in play.