By Wednesday morning — early Wednesday morning, presumably — Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri will have doled out their 286 delegates. Florida and Ohio will have done it the easy way: Win the state, get the delegates. Illinois and Missouri will have put in a little more effort, as FiveThirtyEight's David Wasserman notes, making candidates prove that they really want it by winning every congressional district. But in those states, too, one person could get every single delegate. If someone were to do so, he would get almost a quarter of all of the delegates he needs to confirm the nomination.
It's clear that Florida is make-or-break for at least two candidates. If John Kasich were to lose Ohio and if Marco Rubio loses Florida, each is done. It's over. I mean, each is basically done already, but if either hopes to crawl into the convention without suspending his candidacy, they will need to not be humiliated at home.
On Sunday, NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Marist released new polling from Ohio, Florida and Illinois. The only bright spot for those who oppose Donald Trump is Ohio, where Kasich has a decent lead and, in RealClearPolitics' average of polls, he has moved in front.
Florida, on the other hand, looks as if it could be a complete disaster for Rubio, who's not only not winning his state, but appears to be at risk of falling to third place, behind Cruz. (Kasich is a non-factor in Florida as Rubio is a non-factor in Ohio, which is why Kasich's team felt comfortable taking Rubio's overtures about working together last week and knocking them out cold.
It's possible that this survey could be affected by late-breaking news. The polling was finished Thursday, right before Trump's Chicago rally descended into chaos. That may have changed some minds.
But the problem for the non-Trumps, at least in Florida and Illinois, is the problem that has plagued the establishment from the outset. Trump's support is consistently much more solid than any of his opponents, with his backers saying they won't waver, no matter what.
We can look at that by overlaying the strength of the support for each candidate on top of how much support he gets. Look at Florida below. About three-quarters of Trump supporters say they back him strongly. That's far larger than the combined number of Rubio backers who say they strongly support him, or sort of support him — or might vote for someone else. If Trump lost the non-strong support, in other words — he's still beating Rubio.
In Ohio, his strength is about the same as Kasich's, which is good news for the governor there. In Illinois — where sweeping the congressional districts could earn him more delegates than are available in Ohio, Trump's support is much more robust.
This is just tea-leaf-reading, of course. (Well, if there were actually a good correlation between how we read the leaves and what actually happens.) By Wednesday we'll know if what this poll suggests will happen actually does: Trump continues to separate from the rest of the pack.