What are the chances of Trump winning GOP given the Colorado defeat . I am looking the total math - in and out for the remaining states. Right now Trump still has majority and has come to about 90 % of total needed. This is a numbers game now but there are 'rules' other than just numbers and I am trying to understand what these factors are . I am not looking for opinions on his performance or other personal factors or sentiment. Just want a factual 'to do's'' that he has to get done to come out winning.
FiveThirtyEight did a reasonably good job of analyzing this for the bound delegates. It doesn't really cover the unbound delegates.
I'm not going to repeat the analysis they give there. It is certainly possible for Trump to make it to 1237 purely with bound delegates. He would need to win 479 of the 744 remaining or 64%. But their analyses suggests that he will fall about 80 short. Assuming that there are about 200 unbound delegates on the first ballot, he would therefore need about 40% of them to make a majority.
So Trump either needs to outperform their expectations by about 20% or he needs to convert enough unbound delegates to make up the difference.
New York is an instructive example. 538's path to 1237 has Trump winning 91 of 95 delegates from New York. But if he finishes third (or second with the first place finisher over 50%) in one district and second in another, he'd get 0 of 3 and 1 of 3 respectively. That would take him down to 90. Even if he finishes first in five districts but below the 50% mark, he'd only get 2 of 3 delegates in each district and fall short. Polls show Trump with 50% to 60% of the vote statewide, averaging about 54%. At 60% he might have enough to make 50% in each district, but at 50% he almost certainly wouldn't. If he falls short of 91 delegates in New York, he'll have to make up those delegates elsewhere.
I haven't seen congressional district level polls of Trump support, even though that would be what's needed to predict his vote totals in New York and other states that award delegates by congressional district results. Most projections are going to be somewhat weak without that kind of data.
I saw on the news today that the Trump campaign is currently projecting themselves at 1265 bound delegates. This remains possible. It is certainly much more likely than that Cruz will pass Trump before the convention. But it's a steep climb.
I don't see how Trump can expect to get more than a 100 unbound delegates on the first ballot. That would mean that he needs at least 1137 bound delegates. And that may give him more support than he really has. He tends to do worse in conventions and other circumstances where people can't vote for him directly. He might well find himself stuck at 60 unbound delegates. That would mean that he needs 1177 bound delegates. That's about 20 delegates ahead of the 538 projection.
You may hear a lot of talk about rule 40b. Most of it is rather confused. First, Cruz has won a majority of the delegates in seven states already: Texas; Kansas; Maine; Idaho; Utah; Wisconsin; Colorado. He also will likely get the vote of a majority of the Louisiana delegates (having signed all ten of the unbound delegates) and seems well poised for victory in Wyoming. Either would allow him to met the requirement.
Second, rule 40b doesn't prevent votes for any candidates. It prevents them from receiving floor nominations where they get to talk on television (as covered in 40c) and from having their names read in the vote count (rule 40d). In 2012, Ron Paul was short of the eight states but he still received 190 of the first ballot votes. While Kasich, Cruz, and other potential candidates may appreciate getting to talk on television, they won't need to talk on television to reach delegates. They can talk to delegates directly.
In terms of other rules, I wouldn't expect them to have much effect either. The rules committee won't want to give the appearance of changing the rules for this election. In fact, I suspect that they won't want to give the impression of rules affecting the election in any way.
Trump also has the problem that if he doesn't win on the first ballot, many of his delegates (and everyone else's) become unbound. This is why many observers think that the first ballot is his best if not only chance to win the nomination. If he can get to 1237 then, he wins. If not, he probably doesn't.
Trump has a 67.6% chance of winning the Republican nomination.
Last updated: 6:23PM EDT on Apr 22, 2016