Michigan a halfway house


The good oil:

Squeezed between high-profile Super Tuesday and high-stakes primaries next week in Florida and Ohio, Tuesday’s contests are unlikely to dramatically reshape either party’s primaries. But with 150 Republican and 179 Democratic delegates at stake, the races offer an opportunity for the front-runners to pad leads and rivals to catch up.

While Trump has stunned Republicans with his broad appeal, he’s forged a particularly strong connection with blue-collar white voters. With an eye on the general election, he’s argued he could put Midwestern, Democratic-leaning industrial states such as Michigan and Wisconsin in play for Republicans.

A Monmouth University poll released Monday showed Trump winning 36 percent of likely GOP primary voters, 13 percentage points ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said Michigan was part of his “home court” last week, polled a close third with 21 percent of the vote, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio placed fourth with 13 percent of the likely vote.

Victories by Cruz in Kansas and Maine have threatened to make the Republican race a two-man sprint to the finish. But Kasich and Rubio are holding out hope they can win their winner-take-all home states March 15.

Entering Tuesday, Trump leads the Republican race with 384 delegates, followed by Cruz with 300, Rubio with 151 delegates and Kasich with 37. Winning the GOP nomination requires 1,237 delegates.

“It’s not just the whole country that’s watching Michigan — now the world’s beginning to watch,” Kasich said Monday during a campaign stop in the state.

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