Donald Trump was the clear favorite in today’s winner-take-all Arizona primary, even before the Brussels terrorist attacks. The immigration issue and the flood of early voters favors him, as does the fact that some of those early voters will have cast ballots for Marco Rubio before he dropped out last Tuesday night. If they had known Rubio would no longer be a candidate, many of those voters might have gone with Cruz.
But polls have been tricky and often erratic this year (think Michigan and the surprise win of Bernie Sanders). For example, the latest poll showing a 14 point Trump lead appears to oversample Phoenix voters (59 percent of state’s population vs. 73 percent of those polled). Trump outperfoms his statewide average in the Phoenix area. The Washington Post reports that “Cruz could definitely score an upset in Arizona.” If that happens or Cruz comes very close here will be the relevant factors, according to the Post.
Cruz has a superior ground game. Neutral observers say his team is a lot more organized than Trump. His state director elected many Republican members of the legislature.
It’s a closed primary, meaning only Republicans can vote. Trump has struggled in closed primaries.
Cruz has scored a bunch of late endorsements: Rep. Matt Salmon announced his support last night.
Cruz is still perceived as strong on border security.