NBC/WSJ Poll: Donald Trump Holds Slim Majority in New York

Presidential Candidates AP Photos
AP Photos

A new poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal shows Donald Trump with a large lead in New York ahead of its primary next week. More importantly, Trump is just over the 50 percent threshold he needs to sweep the state’s at-large delegates.

The poll, from Marist University, was conducted April 6-10, immediately after the Wisconsin primary. Based on interviews with 259 likely Republican voters, the poll has a margin of error of 6.1 percent. While that is fairly high, the poll’s findings are consistent with all other recent polling in the Empire State.

According to the poll, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are essentially tied for a very distant second place. Kasich has 22 percent support, while Cruz has 18 percent support. The support for all three candidates in the poll matches their numbers in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

All three Republican candidates lose to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders by wide margins in hypothetical general election match-ups, according to the Marist poll.

Trump’s support is strongest among those Republicans most likely to vote. Among a larger sample of potential Republican primary voters, Trump leads the state with just 48 percent support. While he still enjoys a massive lead over his rivals, that support level would trigger a proportional allotment of delegates at the state level.

New York’s primary is closed, meaning that only registered Republican voters can participate.

Trump winning New York state isn’t in doubt. The relevant question is whether he will clear the 50 percent threshold, which triggers winner-take-all rules for delegates.

New York awards 14 delegates based on the statewide results. If a candidate wins the state by more than 50 percent, that candidate receives all of the at-large delegates. If a candidate fails to win by at least 50 percent, the delegates are awarded proportionally.

The richest basket of delegates is awarded through the state’s 27 congressional districts. If a candidate wins a district with 50 percent of the vote, that candidate wins three delegates. If a candidate wins, but doesn’t exceed 50 percent, the winning candidate receives two delegates and the second-place candidate receives one delegate.

Trump’s chances of winning the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the GOP nomination require him to sweep most of the delegates in New York. Realistically, Trump needs to come out of New York with 75 delegates out of the 95 total at stake.

Trump could win 75 delegates by winning the statewide vote with more than 50 percent and winning a majority of the vote in eight congressional districts. He would just need to win a plurality in the over 19 districts. He is currently on the edge of achieving this.