INDIANAPOLIS — A new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News gives Donald Trump a commanding lead ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary here. Among the problems for his GOP rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz,Tex as, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich: abject voter disgust with their hasty agreement to carve up three primaries so that each of them could face Trump one on one.
The poll, conducted Tuesday to Thursday, finds likely Republican voters opposed to the Cruz-Kasich deal by a 24-point margin: Just 34 percent likes the deal, while 58 percent dislike it. That’s higher than the overall support of 49 percent for Trump, who would win most of the state’s 57 delegates with a statewide victory of any size.
Last Sunday, the campaigns of Cruz and Kasich surprised voters and reporters alike by announcing that the Texan would eschew campaigning in Oregon and New Mexico and that the Ohioan would stay out of neighboring Indiana. As Kasich scrapped public events here (while keeping commitments to meet donors and delegates), Cruz portrayed the Hoosier State as the place where, finally, Republican voters could unite to stop Trump.
Tellingly, neither Cruz nor Kasich was keen to talk about the deal. Cruz told Indiana voters that Kasich had “pulled out” of the state; later, he chided reporters for describing the agreement as an “alliance.” Kasich, meanwhile, told reporters in Pennsylvania and then Oregon that the deal was a simple matter of “shifting resources,” not the pact that #NeverTrump campaigners hoped for.