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Trump, Clinton ahead—but not by much—in Indiana, poll says

April 22, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear to hold slight leads over their competitors, according to the first public polling released in Indiana.

The results of the WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll spell out what are sure to be competitive contests in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Trump is leading the Republican field with 37 percent of respondents favoring him as the Republican nominee, followed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz with 31 percent, according to results posted at HoweyPolitics.com. Ohio Gov John Kasich had 22 percent. The margin of error for the poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points on the Republican side. 

On the Democratic side, Clinton is leading U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders by 3 percentage points—well within the margin of error, which is 4.47 percentage points.

The poll was conducted on April 18-21 from a base sample of 500 respondents, according to HoweyPolitics.com.

The results come as presidential candidates have started to land in Indiana to campaign before the state’s May 3 primary—and amid national media reports that Indiana could be key in determining whether Republicans are headed to a contested convention without a clear nominee.

Trump visited Wednesday and Cruz on Thursday. Kasich is set to arrive in Indiana next Tuesday.

Trump’s ability to win most or all of Indiana’s available 57 delegates would help the New York billionaire secure the Republican presidential nomination. 

Indiana is a winner-take-most state when it comes to delegates, meaning that the statewide winner would walk away with 30 delegates. And the winner of each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts would get three delegates apiece. 

But The Washington Post pointed out in an article Friday that "Republican groups, leaders and candidates opposed to Donald Trump increasingly see the Indiana primary as a central front in their last-ditch efforts to stop him from clinching the GOP presidential nomination.”

On his visit to Indiana on Thursday, Cruz said the state would be a “pivotal” contest—especially if he is able to overtake Trump and win the state.

The Democratic side of the race appears to be just as—if not more—competitive in Indiana. Nationally, Clinton appears to be on the way to winning the Democratic nomination. Clinton has 1,446 pledged delegates, which are doled out proportionally based on election results, compared with Sanders’ 1,200 pledged delegates. But Clinton also has a major lead in superdelegates, who are free to support any candidate, with 502 compared with Sanders’ 38. 

Clinton narrowly won the Indiana primary against Barack Obama in 2008, which was seen as a major moment in the race between the two, keeping it alive longer.

Clinton’s spokeswoman said the campaign typically does not comment on the results of individual polls, but the team is out in full force in Indiana.

Former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh has started campaigning here for Clinton, and volunteers statewide are out canvassing for her.

"Headed into the May 3rd primary, our volunteers and supporters are knocking on doors and hitting the phones to share with friends, family, and neighbors Hillary Clinton's plans to protect Indiana's jobs, grow manufacturing, and make education affordable from cradle to college,” spokeswoman Stephanie Formas said in a statement.

Sanders has not announced plans to come to the state but is advertising here.

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