In a slew of polls released since April 21, Donald Trump has gained a surge of support among Republican Hoosiers. David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report writes at fivethirtyeight.com:
Something has shifted. On April 19, Trump carried the New York counties bordering Pennsylvania with an average of 57 percent, in a state in which he was to some extent a favorite son. A week later, he carried the Pennsylvania counties bordering New York with an average of 63 percent. In fact, his smallest margin of victory last Tuesday was 30 percent, in Connecticut. Thatwasn’t supposed to happen, and it strongly suggests Trump could steamroll his way through the final 10 contests.
Indiana, which bills itself as the Crossroads of America, has long looked like a huge fork in the road to the GOP nomination. Its 57 delegates make it the largest prize remaining besides California, and its high-stakes delegate allocation rules — winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district — assure the winner will claim a commanding majority. Indiana’s stand-alone status on May 3 also means its results will set the tone for the final month.
In many respects, Indiana should be a terrific state for the Cruz/Carly Fiorina pre-ticket. Indiana has the highest share of evangelical Protestants of any state yet to vote — 31 percent — which is 9 percentage points higher than in Wisconsin, the site of Cruz’s last triumph. In the 2012 GOP primary, the state’s GOP voters toppled Sen. Richard Lugar, a 36-year moderate fixture, in favor of Cruz’s fellow Tea Party purist Richard Mourdock. (Though Mourdock lost the general election to a Democrat, Joe Donnelly.) And like Wisconsin, Indiana has a robust population of well-educated, high-income conservatives — types that have favored Cruz — particularly in the northern Indianapolis suburbs.
However, here’s why Indiana could be an even better Trump state: It boasts the highest share of manufacturing jobs in the country. From steel mills on the shores of Lake Michigan to the medical device hub of Warsaw, to Elkhart, the “RV capital of the world,” Indiana’s blue-collar workforce — and its blue-collar retirees — are machine-made for Trump.