Today, 13 states cast their votes for the Presidential nomination contests of the Democratic and Republican Primaries. Both contests are cumulatively expected to yield decisive, game-changing results, one way or another.
On the Republican side, millionaire real estate developer and reality TV star Donald Trump is, to date, the undisputed leader of the pack, leading in both the delegate count and in the popular Primary vote. Polling in many of the states voting this Tuesday show him in a mostly dominant position over his opposition, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. However, a few states are showing the brash, blustersome Trump in a softened position of late, leaving a select few openings for Rubio to, at long last, gain a foothold and start up with the winning. Right now, polling has Trump in a dominant position in Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont, with modest leads in Alaska, Georgia, and Virginia. Polls show a possible opening for Senator Rubio in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma, with the dynamics of Wyoming looking favourable towards him(no polling has been done in that state in almost 3 years). Additionally, for a state that's giving Trump seemingly durable leads, Rubio is focusing considerable efforts upon that state, leading this writer to believe that his internals are showing him with a good shot at victory. Cruz will win his home state of Texas, but probably nowhere else. Given Cruz's missteps in recent weeks, one would expect Rubio to unite more of the Conservative vote in his quest to be the GOP's anti-Trump, which should increase his odds in several states where most have generally written him off. This side of the aisle will be the subject of most of tonight's attention.
Turning to the Democratic side, with few exceptions, this should be, for the most part, an anti-climactic night for former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a lock on a clean sweep of the South over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed Socialist. Clinton also dominates in the Midwestern, Rocky Mountain states. Of course, several states could provide Secretary Clinton sources for heartburn. Take Oklahoma, for example, where Sanders has been leading of late. Minnesota could also provide her a speed bump--Sanders is leading there in polling and in enthusiasm. Same goes for Alaska, where no polls have been taken, but a strong ground-game from Sanders could make all the difference. Finally, New England is going to pose some problems for Clinton. Vermont being Sanders' home state, he should dominate there. The two candidates are virtually deadlocked in Massachusetts. Ground game will be key there, likewise everywhere else. General advantage goes to Clinton, but not without some fighting and a few upsets tonight.
Having said all this, here are my predictions for how things go down tonight...
Alabama: Trump wins with 43%, versus Rubio's 22%, Carson's 14%, Cruz's 13%, and Kasich's 8%.
Clinton beats Sanders 76-24.
Alaska: Trump wins with 36%, versus Rubio's 31% and Cruz's 29%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 4%.
Sanders beats Clinton 53-47.
Clinton beats Sanders 70-30.
Colorado: Rubio wins with 31%, versus Trump's 28%, Cruz's 21%, Carson's 12%, and Kasich's 8%.
Clinton beats Sanders 59-41.
Clinton beats Sanders 72-28.
Clinton and Sanders both draw 50-50, or otherwise even parity. Winner decided by a handful of votes.
Sanders beats Clinton 52-48.
Sanders beats Clinton 54-46
Clinton beats Sanders 71-29.
Clinton beats Sanders 61-39.
Clinton beats Sanders 57-43.
Sanders beats Clinton 64-36.
(Note: As I go to post this, Clinton has won GA and VA, Sanders has won VT, and Trump has won GA)