Can Trump win on the first ballot?
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Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE now has 680 delegates. He needs to add 557 delegates to his current count to win the nomination (680 + 557 = 1237). The scenario below shows what Trump would need to do in the remaining primaries and caucuses to win the nomination on the first ballot. It is based on state-by-state assumptions that get him to the required 1,237 delegates. If he falls short of these assumptions in any state, he'd miss winning the delegate majority — unless, of course, he's able to compensate for that loss by winning more delegates in other states.


Here are how many delegates Trump needs to win in each of the 20 remaining states: Arizona, 58 of 58; Utah, zero of 40; Wisconsin, 20 of 42; Colorado, 18 out of 37; New York, 83 of 95; Connecticut, 16 of 28; Delaware, 16 of 16; Maryland, 18 of 38; Pennsylvania, 42 of 71; Rhode Island, 10 of 19; Indiana, 25 of 57; Nebraska, 36 of 36; West Virginia, 24 of 34; Oregon, 12 of 28; Washington state, 20 out of 44; California, 100 of 172; Montana, zero of 27; New Jersey, 51 of 51; New Mexico, eight of 24; and South Dakota, zero of 29.

This scenario, as you can see, assumes Trump gets shut out in three states (Utah, Montana and South Dakota), but carries four winner-take-all states (Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska and New Jersey). If he loses any one of these four winner-take-all states, he's in trouble. But, if he should win either Montana or South Dakota, both winner-take-all states we’re assuming he loses in this computation, he’d have an extra 27 to 29 delegates to offset losses from other places.

To reach the magic 1,237 number, Trump also needs to pull a hefty haul of delegates from three large East and West Coast states: 100 from California, 83 from New York and 42 from Pennsylvania. Should he fall short in any of these three states, it could be a major setback for him. However, should he win winner-take-most states such as Maryland, Indiana and Wisconsin by substantial margins, he could make up possible big state shortfalls by getting more delegates from each of these three states.

One other thing to keep in mind: The future of Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked Rubio warns that election interference may ramp up around Election Day Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE's (R-Fla.) 166 delegates — which are not included in the above totals — depends upon state rules. It has been estimated that a little over half of those delegates are bound to Rubio for the first ballot and another nine are bound for the first two ballots. The rest would be either unbound or bound until release or reallocated. If Trump's delegate total barely falls short of the needed 1,237, Rubio's delegates would then become pivotal. Of course, if any of Rubio's delegates break for Trump before the first ballot, he'd have those extra votes as cushion against any losses based on the above state-by-state assumptions.

Faucheux is president of Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan polling firm based in Washington. He also publishes Lunchtime Politics, a daily newsletter on polls.