MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's most respected political poll has Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) leading Donald Trump by 10 points in the state, bolstered by strong support in the Milwaukee suburbs. In a year when the "establishment" has gotten very little right, Wisconsin offers a chance for redemption: The departure of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) from the race has, as theorized, benefited Cruz.
The new poll, which consists of 1,405 interviews with registered voters from March 24 to 28, finds Cruz at 40 percent support statewide, Trump at 30 percent, and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) at 21 percent.
Wisconsin voters go to the polls on Tuesday.
Since the last edition of the poll, in February, Trump's support has remained completely flat; Cruz had gained 21 points, and Kasich has gained 13 points. In crosstabs, Kasich is strongest in the area around Madison -- an echo of his strong performance in more liberal areas of Michigan and Ohio. Cruz has gained everywhere, notably leading Trump, for the first time in any Midwestern state, among voters who lack college degrees -- a 37 percent to 35 percent advantage.
Cruz's gains have been widely speculated about in conservative Wisconsin media, ever since Rubio's March 15 loss in Florida ended his campaign. Rubio was a popular second choice among former supporters of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.); many, like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have since come out for Cruz as the best stop-Trump candidate.
Cruz, who has spent more time campaigning in Wisconsin than either of his rivals, is shooting not just for a win but for a blowout that would reset the narrative of the primaries. The Marquette poll, taken before Walker endorsed Cruz, finds 47 percent of the governor's supporters already behind the Texan. Trump's resilience comes from the support of more independent voters in the rural parts of the state. But a result that mirrored the findings of this poll would lead to a massive Cruz win, with all 18 statewide delegates and at least 15 delegates from congressional districts, leaving at most nine for Trump to win. (Each of Wisconsin's eight districts hands three delegates to whoever wins the local popular vote.)