How Ted Cruz clobbered Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Cruz Puts the Pressure on Trump After Wins in Wisconsin
Cruz Puts the Pressure on Trump After Wins in Wisconsin

Sen. Ted Cruz scored a momentous victory Tuesday over Donald Trump in Wisconsin -- a win that puts a dent in the Republican frontrunner's hope of clinching the nomination before the July convention.


In a speech to supporters, Cruz declared the night a "turning point." Though it's too soon to tell if Cruz has successfully blunted Trump's momentum in the long run, exit polls from the Badger State revealed a victory that was much broader and dominant than many polls had predicted.

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Here's a look at how Cruz piled up a 13-point win over Trump, according to CNN exit polls:

  • There was virtually no gender gap in the results. Cruz won among men, 48 percent to 35 percent, and women, 49 percent to 34 percent.

  • Cruz captured at least 45 percent of the vote from all age groups -- including 50 percent of voters from the ages of 45-64, which made up nearly half of the GOP electorate.

  • Cruz appeared to make inroads with groups that are typically favorable to Trump, including less educated voters. He scored a plurality among voters with a high-school education or less by 6 points.

  • He also won among less affluent voters, grabbing 42 percent of the voting population making less than $50,000 per year, another typically Trump-friendly voter category.

  • He won big -- 54 percent to 32 percent -- among self-identified Republican voters over Trump. But he also beat Trump among self-identified independent voters, who had been a typical strength for Trump in past races.

  • Cruz performed expectedly well among the evangelical bloc of the GOP base in Wisconsin, winning 55 percent of those voters. But he also won among non-evangelical voters, 43 percent to 35 percent, over Trump.

  • Finally, Cruz not only won voters who described themselves as "very conservative" (by 65 percent to 28 percent), he also ran ahead among "somewhat conservative" Republicans (47 percent to 36 percent).

  • Neither Trump nor Cruz appeared universally palatable to Wisconsin Republican voters. But the state's GOP electorate described Cruz in far more favorable terms than Trump. A stunning 58 percent of Wisconsin Republicans said they'd be "scared" or "concerned" if Trump were elected president, while just 37 percent said the same about Cruz.


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But as Business Insider's Josh Barro wrote Tuesday, it will likely be hard for Cruz to repeat that success in future states. This is due to a combination of unique political factors and Wisconsin's demographics, which were slightly more favorable to Cruz than the Northeast states on the calendar the rest of the month.

Originally published