Donald Trump is poised to have another rough week

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Tough Week for Trump Ahead of Critical Wisconsin Primary

Things are appearing pretty bad for Donald Trump ahead of the key Wisconsin presidential primary next Tuesday.

So much so, that Trump, the GOP frontrunner, on Thursday thanked Wisconsinites for a poll that he was losing.

The poll, from Public Policy Polling, had Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas ahead of the real-estate magnate by a 38% to 37% total.

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"Sure he didn't read it, but our analysis of this poll is about how he'll prob lose by more," the pollster remarked after Trump's social-media post.

Check out photos from an anti-Trump rally in Wisconsin:

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Wisconsin Anti-Trump Rally
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Donald Trump is poised to have another rough week
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Anti-Trump protesters gather in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: A Trump supporter debates with anti-Trump protesters in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait for the start of a campaign rally at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Donald Trump protesters argue with a supporter outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, prior to a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest the scheduled appearance of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Donald Trump protesters hold a sign outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's scheduled appearance. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Other recent polls haven't been kind to Trump either — far worse, in fact.

A poll released this week from Marquette Law School — widely respected among political observers — had Trump trailing Cruz by 10 points. In February, the same poll had him up on Cruz by 11 points. Another poll released this week, from Fox Business, had Trump trailing Cruz by the same 10-point margin.

Overall, it's been a fairly disastrous week for Trump in the state.

It began with a Monday interview with conservative Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes, a self-professed "Never Trump" Republican.

Among others things, Sykes grilled Trump over his treatment of Cruz's wife. Trump had tweeted out an intentionally unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz and previously threatened to "spill the beans" on her.

Trump insisted that his barbs were retaliation after a super PAC unaffiliated with the Cruz campaign ran some ads with a racy photo of Trump's own wife.

But Sykes didn't buy Trump's argument:

Is this your standard? That if a supporter of another candidate — not the candidate himself — does something despicable, that it's OK for you, personally, a candidate for president of the United States, to behave in that same way? I mean, I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on the playground, not somebody who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln.

The following day, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsed Cruz on Sykes' radio show.

Trump then started to furiously attack Walker's record. That's a questionable strategy, because Walker has an 80% approval rating in the state from likely Republican primary voters, although that number is much lower when all voters are factored in.

"He certainly can't endorse me after what I did to him in the race, right?" Trump said of Walker at a Tuesday event, bringing attention to various attacks he levied against Walker before the governor dropped out of the 2016 race.

"Your governor has convinced you [Wisconsin] doesn't have problems," Trump later said.

On Wednesday, Trump walked into yet another firestorm after botching a question from MSNBC's Chris Matthews on abortion policy. Trump initially said he supported punishing women who receive abortions if they were made illegal, but soon backtracked after he was fiercely criticized by both the left and the right on the issue.

Trump is making a big push to win the state despite the recent headwinds.

He has filled his schedule with Wisconsin events ahead of the primary. He even added an event late to his schedule and is now holding a total of six rallies there between Saturday and Monday. On Friday, he also launched a new radio-ad campaign in the state.

Trump is still attracting large crowds at his Wisconsin rallies and, as Trip Gabriel wrote in The New York Times, the mogul has the advantage of a "large number of white working-class voters" and "a passionate base of supporters for whom he can do no wrong."

But the state has been viewed for some time as the last stand of the "Never Trump" movement.

In mid-March, the conservative group Club for Growth sent out a three-page memo to donors promising the group would spend as much as $2 million in Wisconsin to assist Cruz, who worked to get a head start on Trump in the state, according to The Times.

Trump is also struggling in the Milwaukee suburbs, which are reportedly among the most Republican counties in the state. Those suburban voters were key to Walker's gubernatorial victories.

Check out these potential Trump running mates:

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Donald Trump's potential running mates, VPs
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Donald Trump is poised to have another rough week

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich could provide Trump with exactly what he is looking for in a running mate — an experienced lawmaker who pushed legislation through Congress for years.

Though he has been actively aboard the Kasich bandwagon in recent days, Gingrich has come to Trump's defense regarding both the establishment backlash to his candidacy and the controversy the frontrunner found himself in after initially failing in a CNN interview to disavow support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Pence is rumored to be one of the final few people on Donald Trump's short list to be running mate. He appeared with him mere days before Trump was expected to announce his decision, and even met with Trump's family. 

Pence found himself in the spotlight in recent months after defending Indiana's religious liberty law that was criticized by many as being discriminatory against the LGBT community. 

(Photo by REUTERS/John Sommers II)

Ivanka Trump

A wildcard choice for sure, some began to wonder if Donald Trump might consider naming his daughter as his running mate after Sen. Bob Corker suggested the move shortly after taking himself out of the mix. 

Ivanka, who would turn 35 mere days before the election, has not addressed the rumors, but brother Eric backed her

(Photo by REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Michael Flynn

The 57-year-old retired lieutenant general has been advising the campaign on foreign affairs for months, but as Flynn's under-the-radar candidacy gained steam as Trump's decision drew near.

Conservative supporters have warned that Flynn isn't sufficiently tough on social issues.  

(Photo by REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is the only 2016 GOP presidential candidate who has endorsed Trump since leaving the race.

Christie could help Trump with more moderate GOP voters, and he certainly has the bombastic personality that would serve as a useful surrogate for Trump, though the two also fiercely criticized each other when they were both candidates in the race.

Back in November, Trump said Christie could have a "place" on his ticket.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is the only sitting senator to endorse Trump — and he has already been tapped to lead Trump's national-security advisory committee.

"A movement is afoot that must not fade away," Sessions said during the Alabama rally where he announced his support last month.

Sessions is one of the staunchest supporters of Trump's hard-line plan to crack down on illegal immigration. The senator could also give Trump credibility in the South.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scott Brown

Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts was the first current or former senator to endorse Trump. He was known in the Senate as a moderate, and he could help pick up votes with some in the less conservative wing of the Republican Party.

He has supported abortion rights and is in favor of banning assault weapons, but he carries a blue-collar, populist persona. Brown memorably drove a pickup truck to campaign events during his 2010 Senate run in Massachusetts, which was to fill a vacant seat.

Trump acknowledged that Brown may very well be his pick.

During a January event in New Hampshire, Trump said Brown was cut out of "central casting" and could be his vice president. Brown said at the time that Trump was "the next president of the United States."

(Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Paul LePage

"I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular," Gov. Paul LePage of Maine said while announcing his support for the GOP frontrunner last month on "The Howie Carr Show."

The governor is comparable to Trump when it comes to provocative remarks. In January, LePage found himself at the center of a national firestorm after he made some racially tinged comments about out-of-state drug dealers who come into Maine and "impregnate a young white girl" before leaving.

"Now I get to defend all the good stuff he says," LePage has said of Trump.

LePage also entered politics after a successful business career, but he was reportedly staunchly opposed to Trump's candidacy before suddenly coming on board.

(Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Mike Huckabee

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who was once in the 2016 GOP presidential race, has been defending Trump in recent weeks. Plus, his daughter is now working as a part of Trump's campaign.

Last week, BuzzFeed reported that advisers close to Huckabee thought the vice-president nod was in the cards for their guy.

Of all the former 2016 White House contenders, Huckabee may be closest to Trump ideologically. Huckabee struck a populist tone on cultural issues and, like Trump, vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare if elected.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

John Kasich

Aside from a few brushups in the fall, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has barely touched Trump along the trail. The same can be said for Trump, whose most brutal attack against Kasich is that he "got lucky" because of the natural-gas reserves in his state.

It has been rumored that Trump would be interested in Kasich as his running mate, though Trump has also recently started criticizing Kasich on the campaign trail.

Kasich has the political experience that Trump says he's seeking. Kasich also hails from the Midwest, one of the most competitive regions in the past few presidential races.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rick Scott

It has been an ongoing rumor that Gov. Rick Scott of Florida will endorse Trump after Scott wrote a gushing op-ed article in USA Today in January.

Like Trump, Scott rose to power from the business world. But Scott also has clout in the largest general-election swing state. In addition, he has six years of government experience behind him after being elected to office in 2010.

Of note: The hospital company where Scott served as CEO had to pay a $1.7 billion Medicare fraud penalty in 2000.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sarah Palin

We can dream, right?

John McCain's running mate in 2008, Sarah Palin was a big get for Trump when she endorsed the frontrunner over Ted Cruz, whom she had vigorously campaigned for during his Senate run in 2012.

If Trump is interested in a sharp break with the Republican establishment, picking Palin would certainly send that signal.

It's an open question, however, as to whether she boosted or hindered McCain's run during the 2008 race.

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin makes remarks before the opening of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, in this February 22, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Theiler/Files
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"The Republican base still loves Scott Walker," Tom Schreibel, a former chief of staff for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, told The Times. "The further you get from major metropolitan areas, Trump gets stronger."

Trump's regional struggles within the state will have in impact in the final delegate allocation. Wisconsin awards 18 delegates to the statewide winner — which is likely to be Cruz — and then the remaining 24 delegates are divided up evenly among the eight congressional districts.

Four of the eight are, at least partially, within the Milwaukee metro area.

Should Trump lose in Wisconsin by the margins he's currently at in the earlier polls, he'd go from needing roughly 53% of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination to about 60%, according to Politico. The story of a Trump failure would also last two weeks until the next GOP primary: the April 19 New York contest.

A recent delegate projection from the data-news site FiveThirtyEight had Trump finishing just short — at 1,208 — of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination outright. And that was a slightly outdated projection that had 25 of the 42 delegates in Wisconsin projected to go Trump's way.

"I see an opportunity for us to have Trump walk out of there with no delegates," Ed Goeas, a pollster who works for an anti-Trump super PAC, told The Times. "The narrative that comes out of Wisconsin has a huge impact."

NOW WATCH: Watch Cruz attack Trump for threatening to 'spill the beans' on his wife

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