The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

How Florida and Ohio could make or break Donald Trump this week, visualized

With Donald Trump’s wins this week in Michigan and Mississippi, his chances of clinching the Republican nomination now depend heavily on what voters in Florida and Ohio do on Tuesday.

Both primaries are winner-take-all, with 99 delegates at stake in Florida and 66 in Ohio. So each could significantly boost Trump’s 99-delegate lead over Ted Cruz, his nearest competitor.

If Trump sweeps Florida and Ohio, he could clinch the nomination by winning just more than half of the remaining bound delegates that are in play on Tuesday and afterward, according to scenarios developed by Josh Putnam, a political science lecturer at the University of Georgia and blogger at Frontloading HQ.

Or, to look at it another way, Trump’s opponents would have to win almost half of the remaining bound delegates to block him from amassing the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination.

Meanwhile, it gets much harder for Trump to win -- and significantly easier for his opponents to stop him -- if Trump loses Florida, Ohio or both.

But Trump remains basically the only candidate who appears likely to get the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention. Under all four possible Florida-Ohio scenarios, Cruz would need at least 77 percent of remaining delegates to clinch the nomination -- a feat that seems unlikely at this time.

So are any of these scenarios within Trump’s reach?

Thus far in the primary season, Trump has won 34 percent of votes and 43 percent of all delegates -- both shy of a majority. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this week pegged national Republican support for Trump at 34 percent, followed by Cruz at 25 percent. Trump this week won Michigan with 37 percent of votes, and Mississippi with 47 percent.

While Trump hasn't won half the delegates to this point, that's largely because, until Tuesday, states weren't allowed to award all of their delegates to the winner. Starting this week, it will be much easier for Trump -- or anyone else who can win states -- to amass delegates very quickly, making winning a majority of the remaining delegates a much more attainable task.

Current polling shows a tight race in Ohio between Trump and home-state Gov. John Kasich. In Florida, polls show Trump with a large lead over home-state Sen. Marco Rubio.

Given the stakes, the campaigns will likely become more intense in coming days, especially in Florida and Ohio, with more attacks on the Republican front-runner.

In Florida alone, independent groups have bought almost $12 million in anti-Trump ads as of Tuesday, and the pace of that spending, and the frequency of campaign attacks, has been accelerating.