9:45: With roughly 10% of the vote in, CNN called it for Trump already and it’s looking like he’ll take Kentucky also. In Louisiana The Donald is holding steady in the mid-forties. Ted Cruz is about 20 points lower and Marco Rubio is fighting to get above the 20% threshold needed to nab any delegates. All in all Cruz has shown he can win in a variety of environments and demographics, while Trump gets to call the evening a tie with Cruz. How Rubio will craft a victory speech after tonight remains a mystery, but I’m sure he’ll figure out a way.
9:15: With only 5% of the returns in, Trump starts out with a sizable lead.
Trump – 46.5
Cruz – 23.8
Rubio – 19.8
Kasich – 3
Our final Super Saturday battle takes place in Louisiana and it’s an actual primary rather than a caucus. Ted Cruz has been having a very good day thus far and it would become a Yuge deal if he managed to pull off a win in the Pelican State. There have been repeated claims from the #NeverTrump camp that a tidal shift is underway even if the polls were slow to catch on to it. Louisiana could prove to be an interesting test case for that theory, since some of the freshest polling still showed The Donald with a solid lead. (Patch.com)
A March 2 University of New Orleans poll of active registered Republican voters found 38 percent would choose Trump. Ted Cruz followed with 26 percent and Marco Rubio trailed with just 11 percent. John Kasich received only 5 percent of the vote. Undecided Republican voters made up a 20 percent chunk.
Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Marco Rubio recently, but that doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on the voters. That may not be terribly shocking because Jindal’s own approval ratings in his home state have cratered quite a bit since his own POTUS bid went out on the road. Fivethirtyeight was still projecting a a 96% chance of a Trump victory with 44% of the vote as recently as yesterday. If Cruz can beat the projections there he will have a much stronger argument in favor of being the Last Anti-Trump Standing.
Since all of the candidates are still focused on the delegate math, it’s worth taking a look at the rules of the road in Louisiana as we watch the returns come in. They have a proportional system, as everyone must until the 15th, but as with many others there are some hitches in it. They have 18 district delegates and 28 state wide ones. The district delegates are allegedly proportional with 2 – 1 splits in each congressional district. The 28 at large delegates are also proportional, but they have the maximum 20% threshold to get any. If the numbers from that poll I linked above hold up, Rubio could find himself taking zero delegates away, falling further behind while Trump and Cruz divide up the spoils.
We’ll have updates at the top of the post once the results begin rolling in.