Can Trump win on the first ballot?
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Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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 RubioCalifornia poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' 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.