On Tuesday night, Sen. Ted Cruz swept up a majority of the 42 delegates in Wisconsin — halting Donald Trump’s momentum in the Republican presidential primary and possibly changing the dynamics of Campaign 2016.
The Wisconsin primary victory shows the strength of Cruz’s organization and puts new pressure on Trump. Trump’s campaign was dealt a huge blow after nearly two weeks of gaffes and blunders.
With a Cruz victory in Wisconsin, a contested convention is all the more likely, and undoubtedly the Establishment is now hopeful that the GOP front-runner could be taken down. Cruz, the very man the Washington elite and GOP Establishment hated, is now its last best chance at defeating a man they can’t stand more than him — Donald Trump.
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After his victory, a jubilant Cruz walked up to the podium and addressed a crowd of cheerful supporters. “What an incredible victory tonight,” Cruz said. “Tonight is a turning point, it is a rallying cry.”
He continued, “Tonight, here in Wisconsin — just three weeks ago the media had written off. The media had said Wisconsin was a perfect state for Donald Trump. As a result of the people of Wisconsin defying the media, defying the pundits, I am more convinced that our campaign is going to win the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination. Either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland, we will win a majority of the delegates.”
Ultimately, Cruz dominated in Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs — an area dominated by Republicans and where the Wisconsin GOP Establishment focused a majority of its resources and efforts. While Kasich did not focus strongly on Wisconsin, he did concentrate his efforts in Madison, which is a more moderate area.
Wisconsin’s 42 delegates are divided — Cruz as the winner of the statewide primary is awarded 18 at-large-delegates delegates but the remaining 24 delegates are distributed based upon who won each of the individual eight congressional districts.
Trump needed to out-perform Cruz in the northern part of the state in order siphon away delegates from Cruz, but at this point he had only won a single district— totaling three delegates. As of early Wednesday morning, Cruz accrued 33 delegates, a majority of the prize. But six delegates have yet to be allotted. Kasich took a whopping zero delegates.
What’s interesting about the state of Wisconsin is its demographics. Among the voting-age population, the Badger State is 86.1 percent Caucasian with a median household income of $52,622 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Typically, a state like Wisconsin would be in Trump’s wheelhouse, but on Tuesday night the people of Wisconsin sent a clear message to the GOP front-runner.
Overall, Trump lost ground with non-college educated, evangelical and female voters — demographics the billionaire businessman is used to winning in midwestern states with open primaries.
[lz_table title=”Delegate Count” source=”Associated Press”]Wisconsin Delegates
In Missouri, Illinois and Michigan, Trump dominated among white non-educated voters by double digits. In those same states, Trump won among voters who were angry with the federal government — something he failed to do in Wisconsin on Tuesday. In those three states, Trump also won largely among voters making less than $50,000 a year.
The one area where Trump was consistently losing ground or tying with Cruz was with female voters — but on Tuesday night Cruz beat him there by double digits, winning among female voters with 48 percent of the vote to Trump’s 36 percent.
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Wisconsin Electoral Profile” source=”U.S. Census Bureau”]86.1% of Wisconsin voters identify as being white.|The median household income for voters is $52,622.|28.4% of voters acquired a bachelor’s degree or higher. [/lz_bulleted_list]
But that wasn’t the only different result in Wisconsin. According to Fox News exit polling, Cruz won among voters who are angry with the federal government, a big change from other primary states. Cruz had 48 percent to Trump’s 37 percent and Kasich’s 12 percent.
Among white non-college graduates, Cruz won with 45 percent to Trump’s 41 percent and Kasich’s 12 percent.
According to CBS News exit polling, 54 percent of Republican primary voters said U.S. trade with other countries takes away jobs from the U.S. — similar to the results in a majority of other primary states. What this shows is the tough rhetoric on trade that has propelled Trump’s campaign didn’t win the day for him in Wisconsin.
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[lz_table title=”Wisconsin GOP Primary Exit Polls” source=”CBS News”]Female Voters
|White Non-college educated voters
|Under $50k income
Trump has relied upon and won among lower-income voters, but voters with household income under $50,000 made up only 29 percent of voters who turned out in the Wisconsin primary, according to various exit polls. Compare that to neighboring state Michigan, where 30 percent of voters who turned out earned an income of $50,000 or less. Trump dominated among that demographic. However, Trump did win that demographic narrowly in Wisconsin, with 43 percent to Cruz’s 40 percent.
The Wisconsin Establishment pulled out all the stops in the state in the hopes of defeating Trump, and in the end came out victorious. Gov. Scott Walker’s endorsement of Cruz was a huge advantage for Cruz as Walker is a wildly popular governor. Even conservative talk radio hosts there unified against Trump.