- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have a 99 percent chance — or better — of winning Tuesday’s New York primary, according to a final forecast by FiveThirtyEight, with the media narrative likely to shift to a general election matchup between the two.

A big win for Mr. Trump could translate into a huge delegate haul for the Republican front-runner and position him closer to clinching the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination outright. After New York, Mr. Trump is also expected to clean up in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to come in third place in New York, denting whatever momentum he had after a big win in Wisconsin and weakening Mr. Cruz’s argument that he could win in a one-on-one race against Mr. Trump.

A poor showing for Mr. Cruz only emboldens Mr. Trump’s path to the nomination, as Mr. Cruz is projected by FiveThirtyEight to miss the 20 percent threshold for picking up any delegates in New York, putting him even further behind in the delegate race. Mr. Cruz is also running behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Pennsylvania, another delegate-rich state where he’s likely not to pick up any ground.

Mrs. Clinton has a 99 percent chance of winning New York with a 56-41 spread, according to FiveThirtyEight. Because the Democratic contests award their delegates proportionally, Mrs. Clinton’s delegate grab won’t be as large as the Republican front-runner’s but she will blunt rival Vermont Bernard Sanders momentum.

Mrs. Clinton has been looking to pivot her campaign to focus on the general election. A win in New York will make it very difficult for Mr. Sanders to win the nomination without converting large numbers of superdelegates or winning states such as California or Pennsylvania by double-digits — scenarios which are both very unlikely.

After a win in New York, Mrs. Clinton will probably start preparing her campaign for an aggressive matchup against Mr. Trump in the general. Mr. Trump, too, will start looking to the general. If he wins big, it’ll be harder for the Republican establishment to deny him the nomination.

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