Will Indiana give Donald Trump a big victory like its neighbors Michigan and Illinois? Or will it boost Ted Cruz with a Wisconsin-style double-digit win?
Hoosiers may just split the difference, according to a new Fox News Poll.
Trump is ahead of Cruz by an eight-point margin among Indiana likely Republican primary voters: 41-33 percent. That’s at the edge of the poll’s plus or minus four point margin of sampling error. John Kasich comes in third with 16 percent.
Men are the key to Trump’s advantage. He receives 44 percent to Cruz’s 33 percent, while Kasich takes 13 percent.
Among women, Trump ekes out a three-point edge (36-33 percent), while 20 percent back Kasich.
Cruz is preferred over Trump among self-described “very” conservative GOP primary voters (46-35 percent).
The vote among white evangelical Christians splits: 41 percent Cruz vs. 39 percent Trump. This stands in sharp contrast to nearby Wisconsin, where the Fox News exit poll showed Cruz winning this group by a wide 22-point margin (55-33 percent).
GOP voters without a college degree go heavily for Trump (+16 points), while college grads back Cruz by a narrow one-point margin.
"There hasn't been much polling in Indiana, and Trump's showing may be a surprise to some," says Daron Shaw, Republican pollster who works on the Fox News Poll with Democratic Pollster Chris Anderson.
"But the political and demographic make-up of Indiana holds promise for both Cruz and Trump, and that shows in the data."
Kasich (27 percent) and Cruz (24 percent) come out on top when GOP primary voters are asked their second-choice candidate. When first- and second-choice preferences are combined, it’s a squeaker: 58 percent Trump and 57 percent Cruz.
And without Kasich in the race, it’s 44 percent Trump vs. 42 percent Cruz.
The Indiana electorate is still in flux: one in four says they could change their mind (25 percent).
Kasich (38 percent) and Cruz supporters (29 percent) are more likely than Trump supporters (17 percent) to say they could end up backing a different candidate.
Among those backing Trump, 81 percent feel certain they will vote for him, while 70 percent of Cruz supporters and 59 percent of Kasich supporters say the same.
If it’s Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in the fall, 42 percent of those backing Cruz say they would vote for a third party candidate or not at all. By comparison, if it’s Cruz against Clinton, 48 percent of Trump supporters would vote third party or stay home.
The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The telephone poll (landline and cellphone) was conducted April 18-21, 2016, with live interviewers among a random sample of 1,205 Indiana voters selected from a statewide voter file (plus or minus 2.5 percentage points). Results for the 602 likely Republican primary voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.