Trump, Clinton Poised For Big Night In Five East Coast Primaries

Workers prepare the stage at the Philadelphia Convention Center, where Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton will hold an election-night rally Tuesday. Five East Coast states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island -- hold their primaries Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) — Five more states cast ballots Tuesday in the 2016 presidential primaries and polls show the respective front-runners, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, poised to have big nights.

With relatively few states remaining on the primary calendar, that puts the pressure on their opponents, Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left, and Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich on the right, to do whatever they can to hold down margins of victory and snatch away delegates wherever possible.

Four of the five states voting are closed primaries, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans can cast ballots.

Here’s a look at the five states, all on the East Coast, voting Tuesday:

— Pennsylvania: It is the single biggest prize of the night for both parties. There are 210 delegates at stake for the Democrats and 71 for the Republicans. As is the case for all five states voting for Democrats, their delegates will be awarded proportionally, both by the statewide vote and by each congressional district.

On the Republican side, things are not nearly as clear. Due to a quirk in the state party’s rules, 54 of the state’s 71 delegates will be unbound at the convention no matter who wins Tuesday night. A big victory for Trump would only be largely symbolic, but it could strengthen his hand in the weeks leading up to the GOP convention in Cleveland in trying to persuade the entire delegation, or individual delegates, to come to his side based on the will of voters back home.

The Real Clear Politics average shows Trump leading the field by nearly 22 percentage points and Clinton leading Sanders by 16 points.

— Maryland: The second largest prize of the night and the state where polls indicate Clinton could pull off her biggest margin of victory. The state’s demographics are tailor-made for her campaign. She has done best among minority voters and in big cities. The huge concentration of black voters in Baltimore County, and the city of Baltimore in particular, should help the former secretary of state run up the score here. Polls have shown her leading Sanders by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

On the Republican side, Trump holds a similarly commanding lead.

At stake are 118 delegates for the Democrats, awarded proportionally, and 38 delegates on the Republican side, in a winner-takes-all contest.

— Connecticut: The state should be a sweet spot for Trump. The most recent poll here, conducted by the Democratic firm PPP, showed Trump with a whopping 34-point lead. Other polls conducted in the last two weeks have not been quite so favorable, but still show him leading by more than 20 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, that same PPP poll showed the race here within the margin of error, with Clinton leading Sanders by two points, 48 percent to 46 percent. Two other recent polls have shown Clinton leading outside the margin of error, indicating she probably holds a slight lead in Connecticut, but it could wind up largely a wash.

As is the case in Democratic primaries, the state’s 70 delegates will be awarded proportionally, so it’s unlikely that either candidate will be able to significantly alter the delegate count with this small haul.

On the Republican side, Connecticut has 28 delegates that will be awarded proportionally. That makes Trump’s big lead significant. If he wants to sweep the state’s delegate haul he will need to win convincingly to do so.

— Rhode Island: This is the wild card of the night. There has been very little polling in this small state. The student-heavy population in Providence could give Sanders his best shot at claiming a victory and preventing a Clinton 5-for-5 sweep. Though the delegate haul is small, 33 for the Democrats and 19 for Republicans, Rhode Island could play an outsized role in the media narrative of the night.

On the Republican side, there’s little reason to believe Trump will not prevail. The same type of Republican voters exist in Connecticut as in Rhode Island, albeit in smaller numbers. Connecticut is also home to many who consider themselves more connected to New York City than to New England, so there are some distinctions to be drawn, but demographically the states are quite similar.

Rhode Island is also the only state where voting is not strictly limited to registered party members. Voters registered as Democrats or Republicans must vote in their own party’s primary. Independents can choose which party’s ballot they wish to receive.

This also benefits Sanders, who has performed best in states where independents are allowed to vote in Democratic primaries.

— Delaware: The smallest delegate haul of the night comes from this mid-Atlantic state. Polling has been scant, but has shown Clinton and Trump holding leads here. There are 31 delegates at stake on the Democratic side, awarded proportionally, and 16 on the Republican side, awarded on a winner-takes-all basis.

Polls close in all five states at 8 p.m. Eastern.


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