- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are leading in their respective parties’ presidential contests in Maryland ahead of the April 26 primaries, and Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Trump in both Maryland and Virginia, according to polls released Thursday.

In the Republican race in Maryland, Mr. Trump had a 10-point lead over Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 41 percent to 31 percent, with Sen. Ted Cruz in third at 22 percent, according to the Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Mr. Kasich’s campaign touted his second-place showing in the poll as well as a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday that showed him in second place in New York — albeit 27 points behind Mr. Trump, 52 percent to 25 percent.

“If you don’t want Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to win, then John Kasich is your only choice,” said Kasich campaign spokesman Trent Duffy.

Though candidates are now devoting their attention to bigger prizes like New York, which votes April 19, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich are also clawing for whatever delegates they can find in an effort to stop Mr. Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination before the party’s national convention in July.

Maryland has 38 Republican delegates up for grabs. The latest nationwide tally by The Associated Press has Mr. Trump with 743 delegates, Mr. Cruz with 517 and Mr. Kasich with 143.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, had a 55 percent to 40 percent lead over Democratic presidential rival Bernard Sanders in Maryland. She also had a 35-point lead, 63 percent to 28 percent, over Mr. Trump in a head-to-head matchup in the state.

Maryland Democrats have 118 delegates in play. Mrs. Clinton has a 1,280 to 1,030 lead over Mr. Sanders among pledged delegates, according to the latest AP tally, and her lead swells to 1,749 to 1,061 when so-called superdelegates are included. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.

Richard E. Vatz, a professor at Towson University and a longtime analyst of Maryland politics, said the state’s blue hue has faded slightly since the stunning gubernatorial victory of Republican Larry Hogan in 2014.

“I think if Maryland is a moderately liberal state, and not a crazy liberal state, I think that they’re going to go for Clinton,” Mr. Vatz said. “I think that Maryland liberality is more consistent with Clinton than it is with Sanders.”

On the other side of the Potomac, the former reliably red Virginia has emerged as a key battleground in the past two presidential election cycles, with Barack Obama carrying the state in 2008 and 2012.

A poll released Thursday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University showed Mrs. Clinton with a 9-point lead, 44 percent to 35 percent, over Mr. Trump in the state.

The poll also found that Democratic voters in Virginia appear likelier to stick with Mrs. Clinton as the nominee than Republican voters are to back Mr. Trump in November.

Twenty-nine percent of Republican voters said they would either vote for the Democrat, vote for a third-party candidate or stay home if Mr. Trump is the party’s nominee. By contrast, 90 percent of Virginia Democratic primary voters said they will “definitely” or “probably” vote for Mrs. Clinton if she is the nominee.

“There’s a sizable distaste for Trump among Virginia Republican voters,” said Rachel Bitecofer, director of the Wason Center Survey Research Lab.

Mr. Trump won the March 1 Republican primary in Virginia by about 3 points over Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has since dropped out of the race. Mrs. Clinton cruised to a nearly 30-point win over Mr. Sanders.

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