New York primary: Donald Trump eager to end Ted Cruz's winning streak

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Donald Trump Votes in New York Primary

Donald Trump's final push for the GOP nomination starts Tuesday in New York, where the front-runner is heavily favored over rivals Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

SEE ALSO: Trump leads, but Kasich support reaches new high ahead of NY primary

The burning question is not whether Trump wins New York — if he doesn't, it will be among the biggest polling surprises ever — but whether Cruz and Kasich can pick up enough delegates to derail his nomination before July's convention in Cleveland.

Since Trump's last victory in Arizona's March 22 primary, Cruz has won a competitive race in Wisconsin, as well as a series of sweeping victories in North Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming, which awarded their delegates through state conventions rather than primaries or caucuses.

See images of the Trump event in New York:

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Donald Trump event in New York
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New York primary: Donald Trump eager to end Ted Cruz's winning streak
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads the lyrics of Al Wilson's song "The Snake" during campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016 REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads the lyrics of Al Wilson's song "The Snake" during campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listen during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on stage during campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016 REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on stage during campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016 REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes a photo during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to supporters after a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A man reacts as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump speaks on stage during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016 REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, introduces her father at a campaign rally in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait for campaign event to begin at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with a walker in front of portable toilets before a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A tattoo is seen on an attendee during a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees wait for the start of a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees wait for the start of a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Security guards escort a protester from a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee wears an American flag at a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Security guards escort a protester from the start of a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees wait for the start of a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: A supporter holds a up a book by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump prior to a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, center right, waves to attendees during a campaign event in Bethpage, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, embarrassing the front-runner, extending an increasingly bitter nomination fight and boosting the odds of a contested national convention in July. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Supporters pose for a picture prior to a campaign rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Supporters gather for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump prior to a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Supporters cheer during a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: A Trump supporter holds up a 'White Lives Matter' sign during a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
Supporters await the arrival of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally in Bethpage Long Island, New York on April 6, 2016. Trump looks to bounce back from his unsettling presidential primary los in Wisconsin, training his sights in the next White House contests on friendlier ground -- his home state of New York. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump interacts with supporters following a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a rally in Bethpage, Long Island, New York on April 6, 2016. Trump looks to bounce back from his unsettling presidential primary los in Wisconsin, training his sights in the next White House contests on friendlier ground -- his home state of New York. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters yell toward people protesting Trump near the site of a campaign appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Bethpage, New York, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign handed to him by a supporter after speaking at a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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The Texas senator has argued that his recent wins mark a "turning point" that will carry him to a victory in a contested convention. That remains to be seen: Trump's position still looks strong in national polls, where a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll put him at 46 percent support among Republicans versus 28 percent for Cruz and 19 percent for Kasich, suggesting Cruz's victories reflected a favorable stretch of states rather than GOP voters abandoning Trump.

If nothing else, however, Cruz's success in the last month's delegate fights exposed a weak Trump organization, prompted a major staff shakeup, and provoked a furious response from the candidate himself, who complained of a "rigged election" in Staten Island this week.

The delegate losses illustrated Trump's precarious position in the race, despite his large lead. If he falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, Cruz's superior organization now looks likely to outmaneuver him at a contested convention."I don't want to play that game," Trump said of a contested convention on Sunday. "I'm winning with the voters and we're winning big and I think we'll get to the 1,237."

Which brings us back to New York. In order to stay on pace for that goal, Trump needs to win his home state by a large margin, as well as win a series of friendly northern states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island that vote the next week. Overall, Trump needs to win 61 percent of all remaining delegates to hit 1,237 — a difficult but achievable task.

More than a dozen polls this month show Trump leading in New York with over 50 percent support, an important threshold that would allow him to pick up all 14 of the state's at-large delegates. Another 81 are chosen by Congressional district, with the winner getting all three in each district if they break 50 percent and the second-place finisher getting one if they fall short.

Whether Cruz and Kasich can peel off a significant number of delegates could depend on their ability to turn out supporters in heavily Democratic districts where even a handful of Republican votes could make a difference. This would explain why Cruz and Kasich have both visited the Bronx's 15th District, where only 285 Republicans voted in 2012's primary. Cruz and Kasich have also courted ultra-Orthodox Jewish voters in Brooklyn, who could prove an important constituency in several city races.

New York has a closed primary and its deadlines to register to vote are unusually early, which could also keep some independent Trump supporters from the polls. Two victims of this policy are Trump's own children, Ivanka and Eric Trump, who missed the October deadline to switch to the Republican Party.

Cruz has his own problems, however. The Texas senator has been haunted by his decision to assail Trump's "New York values" months ago while campaigning for Iowa votes. Cruz has tried to clarify that he was referring only to New York's "left-wing Democratic policies," but Trump has slammed Cruz over the line, which he says is disrespectful of the city's perseverance after the 9/11 terror attacks. Cruz received a frosty welcome when he spoke at a New York GOP gala on Thursday, and a Republican police officer in attendance told NBC News' Vaughn Hillyard that the senator "blew it" by using the phrase.

"You heard his statement on values, New York values, and I can't imagine any New Yorker voting for Cruz," Trump said on Sunday.

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