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Going into Tuesday's primary, polls showed Trump with a commanding lead. Taking an average of four tracking polls conducted the week before the election, Real Clear Politics gave the real estate heir and former reality TV star a 10.8 point lead over Cruz.
Some commentators, like those at data journalism site Five Thirty Eight, labeled Indiana the “last stand” for the #NeverTrump movement—an effort inside the Republican Party to stop the surging billionaire, who veteran political analyst Larry Sabato's model predicts would get crushed by a 156 electoral vote margin in a general election match-up against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Following Trump's sweep of primaries in five northeastern states last month, derailing the candidate's winning streak would have been an important step in setting up a contested Republican convention in July, where a candidate other than Trump could emerge with the nomination.
Indiana has played a central role in Trump's campaign message, which is largely rooted in capitalizing on the economic anxieties of working-class, white Americans. At campaign event after campaign event, Trump has repeatedly talked about a viral video depicting the angry reaction of crowd of employees at a Indianapolis-area air condition manufacturing plant learning that their jobs were being outsourced to Monterrey, Mexico.Trump, who has been far more critical of free trade than any Republican presidential candidate in recent memory, has pledged to do whatever he can to keep any American jobs from moving overseas—even if it entails deliberately provoking trade wars with the country's second and third largest trading partners, China and Mexico, respectively.
With his win in Indiana, Trump will have earned at least 1,032 total delegates (including 43 unbound delegates). Candidates need 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination.
The Republican presidential primary race continues on Tuesday, May 10 in Nebraska and West Virginia.