UPDATE AFTER MICHIGAN, MISSISSIPPI, AND IDAHO: With Cruz’s better than expected finish yet again tonight (better than I projected in this original post). However, I have adjust Cruz’s numbers down because while some of the states are winner take all by Congressional district, Trump might salvage some votes in these states by winning some Congressional districts in this state. However, the same is true for Cruz in Illinois and Missouri.
Even with these adjustments, Cruz can still reasonably get to 1237 on first ballot with help of unbound delegates. Even if he does not get to 1237, Cruz should still win if he has more delegates than Trump if he wins these states. The party could then unify behind him. Cruz can bring in Trump supporters and neverTrump supporters. NO OTHER CANDIDATE CAN DO THAT which is why I believe Cruz would win on the second or later ballots.
NOTE: IF you wish to challenge this post, BE SPECIFIC. Point to particular states that you think the vote totals will be different from my projections and I will run the numbers to see how your changes affect the results. For example, my biggest concern is PA. If Trump wins PA, then Cruz would still have more delegates but Cruz would be short of first ballot win
The following table shows how Ted Cruz can still win enough delegates to win on first ballot. If Cruz underperforms in some of these areas, he can either make up for it by winning a state unexpectedly (such as NJ)
Even if Cruz doesn’t win the unexpected state, he would still have more delegates than Trump. Rubio delegates could then easily switch to Cruz to give Cruz the win. Either way, Trump will not get to the number needed for first ballot win even if he wins Ohio and Florida. (So no need to panic)
Note: Sorry to see image of spreadsheet have to click for image below.