2016: The GOP’s Four Faces

Decision Desk, Nevada: Another Trump Blowout?

There is little polling in advance of tonight’s Nevada caucuses, but that which exists predict another Trump blowout. There’s no reason not to believe this, as Nevada’s GOP electorate has shown a strong anti-elite strain over the last few years (see Sharon Angle). It is also a state with many fewer very conservative evangelicals than elsewhere, suggesting that Cruz will be hard pressed to exceed his 22 percent share of the South Carolina vote, Nevertheless, there are no polls taken since South Carolina, and neither available poll provides enough cross-tabulations to let me feel comfortable in delivering precise margins for tonight’s contest.

Averaging the two polls taken between New Hampshire and South Carolina gives us the following: Trump 42, Cruz 20, Rubio 19, Kasich 7, Carson 6, Bush 3. Bush’s departure will thus have only a marginal effect on tonight’s outcome.

Rubio, Cruz, and Trump spent yesterday in NV, and all three are having some rallies today. Rubio received the endorsement of Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, both of whose electoral bases are in the Reno-Sparks area (Washoe County). Washoe cast about 20 percent of the vote in the 2012 GOP caucus, and other Lake Tahoe counties in the Amodei-Heller CD cast about 15 percent of the vote. Over half of the state’s votes, however, are cast in Las Vegas (Clark County), where Rubio and Cruz held morning rallies today. (Trump was there last night.)

Two factors that might keep the Trump vote down slightly: unlike NH and SC, the NV caucus is open only to registered Republicans. And unlike IA, you cannot re-register at the caucus: the registration deadline was February 13.

Nevada awards thirty delegates according to the statewide preference ballot. There is a low floor for getting a delegate (3.33% = 1 delegate), so Trump will not gain a significant delegate advantage regardless of his margin of victory.

My best guess is that Trump will win with between 35-40 percent. Rubio will finish second with 20-28 percent, followed by Cruz at 18-21 percent. Kasich, Carson, and others will round out the field with 15-20 percent of the vote between them. I’d be surprised if Rubio got to within ten points of Trump, and if Cruz bests Rubio for second.

The Silver State is thus merely the calm before the GOP storm that starts with Thursday night’s debate and will roar through the nation next Tuesday.

Henry OlsenMr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at UnHerd.com, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

Most Popular

White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
World

Present at the Demolition

Economists at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund must feel pretty lucky these days. They work for just about the only institutions set up in the aftermath of World War II that aren't in the middle of an identity crisis. From Turtle Bay to Brussels, from Washington to Vienna, the decay of the economic ... Read More
World

Present at the Demolition

Economists at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund must feel pretty lucky these days. They work for just about the only institutions set up in the aftermath of World War II that aren't in the middle of an identity crisis. From Turtle Bay to Brussels, from Washington to Vienna, the decay of the economic ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More
White House

The Costs of Trivializing Impeachment

Resorting to a vague “abuse of power” theory, the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning referred two articles of impeachment to the full House on the inevitable party-line vote. The full House will impeach the president next week, perhaps Wednesday, also on the inevitable party-line vote. The scarlet ... Read More
White House

The Costs of Trivializing Impeachment

Resorting to a vague “abuse of power” theory, the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning referred two articles of impeachment to the full House on the inevitable party-line vote. The full House will impeach the president next week, perhaps Wednesday, also on the inevitable party-line vote. The scarlet ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More