In other words, something changed for the better for Trump in the past couple of weeks. At the time we issued those delegate projections, Trump had yet to get 50 percent of the vote in any state and both his national polls and statewide results seemed stagnant. Now he’s gotten over 50 percent in six states in a row. Whereas Trump had once been a safe bet to underperform or, at best, match his polling averages, he’s now beaten them in the last six states.
Having moved to a demographically favorable bloc of states is part of the equation, but not all of it. Compare Trump’s excellent result in Maryland (55 percent of the statewide vote) to his mediocre one in demographically similar Virginia on Super Tuesday (35 percent). Pennsylvania, where Trump got 57 percent of the vote on Tuesday, isn’t all that different from Illinois, where he got 39 percent on March 15. (The Pennsylvania result is especially important given that Trump also got favorable-seeming results among the 54 officially uncommitted delegates elected in the state on Tuesday night, which will give him a cushion if he falls a bit short of 1,237 pledged delegates.)
The question is what’s changed for Trump, whether the change is permanent or temporary, and what implications it has for the next set of states to vote. More particularly: What it means for Indiana, which votes next week and awards its delegates winner-take-all (some statewide and some by congressional district), and which the path-to-1,237 projections had Trump winning. As much good work as Trump has done over the past two weeks, a loss in Indiana would mostly undo it.