Less than a week before the penultimate Super Tuesday of the 2016 presidential primary season, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are comfortably seated in the driver’s seat.
With landslide victories in New York’s presidential primary on Tuesday, the pair solidified their frontrunner positions and left their respective rivals gasping for breath as the contest pivots to next week when five eastern states will hold their primaries.
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island will vote next week and polls show Trump and Clinton with healthy leads that could grow after their resounding wins in New York. The two now have the chance to break away from their rivals for good and begin focusing their attention on what is sure to be a bruising general election.
On the GOP side, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) is perilously close to being mathematically eliminated, while Ohio Governor John Kasich has thus far only managed to win his home state – neither seems ready to change the dynamics of the race enough to prevent Trump from collecting the 1,237 delegates he needs to become the Republican standard-bearer.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), coming off a stinging, double-digit loss in New York, will have to make some serious moves if he’s going to add any more states to his win column any time soon.
Below is a snapshot of the polls ahead of next week’s contests:
Pennsylvania – 210 Dem delegates, 71 GOP delegates
Democrats: Clinton: 51.3 percent – Sanders: 38.3 percent
GOP: Trump: 44.8 percent – Cruz: 24.3 percent – Kasich: 23.5 percent
Maryland – 118 Dem delegates, 38 GOP delegates
Democrats: Clinton: 57 percent – Sanders: 36.3 percent
GOP: Trump: 41 percent – Kasich 26.3 percent – Cruz: 24. 5 percent
Connecticut -- 70 Dem delegates, 28 GOP delegates
Democrats: Clinton: 50 percent – Sanders: 42.5 percent
GOP: Trump: 49 percent – Kasich: 27 percent – Cruz: 18 percent
Delaware – 31 Dem delegates, 16 GOP delegates
Polling not available
Rhode Island – 33 Dem delegates, 19, GOP delegates
Democrats: Clinton: 49 percent – Sanders 40 percent
GOP: Trump: 43 percent – Kasich: 14 percent – Cruz: 10 percent
Considering that almost all of the remaining White House hopefuls announced their bids over a year ago, it would be nice to think that next Tuesday will be the last Super Tuesday of the 2016 campaign. But with Sanders promising to stay in the race until the Democratic National Convention this summer – and Cruz and Kasich hoping for a contested Republican convention – there will be at least one more when voters in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North and South Dakota go to the polls on June 7.
How much drama lies in store for that date very much depends on how much campaigning Cruz, Kasich and Sanders do in the next week and if they’re able to close the sizeable polling gaps facing them.