New York holds their GOP presidential primary tomorrow with 95 delegates at stake. Of those 95, fourteen are at-large/party leader delegates awarded to the winner overall in the state. The remainder (81) are awarded at the congressional district level. To win any delegates at this level, there is a 20% of the vote threshold. The delegates are awarded 2 to the congressional district winner and 1 to the runner-up provided they reach that 20% threshold. However, if any candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in any congressional district they get all three delegates.
Most polls out of New York show Donald Trump the state winner overall. The Real Clear Politics average has Trump at 53.4%, Kasich at 22.1% and Cruz at 17.3%. Of the ten most recent polls, Trump is above 50% in nine of them. Unless this is a polling debacle of major proportions, it is a safe bet that Trump will win New York overall and take those 14 at-large delegates. Thus, he starts with a head start and the main action will be at the congressional district level.
Sixteen of the 27 congressional districts are in New York City or Long Island. That would seem to favor Donald Trump since this is his proverbial home turf. However, these areas tend to in the GOP primary vote for the more moderate candidate. That would seem to favor John Kasich taking a few delegates out of these districts and Cruz getting shut out. Trump will prevail getting at least two delegates from all 16 of these districts and quite possibly all three if he exceeds the 50% threshold which is very possible with three candidates in the mix as Kasich and Cruz vying for the anti-Trump vote with the advantage to Kasich. This writer would be very surprised if Cruz picks up any delegates out of districts one through 16.
As one moves north from New York City, the districts become more “conservative,” but it is a moderate conservatism. Again, this would seem to benefit Kasich more than Cruz although the closer to NYC, Trump will still hold some sway. Any chance for Cruz to pick up delegates are in the middle section of the state, or in districts where very low concentrations of Republicans live and vote where the bar for reaching 20% would be very low in terms of the popular vote.
Still, one has to consider that John Kasich will likely perform better than Cruz in some of these districts. Cruz may sneak out a second place finish or even finish first in some districts, but not enough to exceed 50%.
The fact is that New York is not a good state for a conservative candidate like Ted Cruz. One or two outlying polls which lead to the inevitable false sense of hope and “Cruz is gaining on Kasich” meme is useless. Looking at past GOP primary results on a congressional basis district, this writer is led to believe that the delegate breakdown from New York will be as follows:
- Donald Trump- 55 delegates (14 at-large plus 41 from congressional districts);
- John Kasich- 30 delegates, and;
- Ted Cruz- 10 delegates.
But, one should not fret since Cruz’s performance in Colorado and Wyoming sort of mitigated New York. Further, Maryland and Pennsylvania can prove better opportunities for Cruz. Pennsylvania is especially important since the bulk of the delegates are unbound and if Cruz can perform that political voodoo that seems to make Trump’s head explode, then all the better. Once we get out of April, things get tougher for Trump. And keeping Trump at 55 of a possible 95 delegates in New York (if it happens) could be seen as a small victory. Now just one more thing: Go away John Kasich!