A shift has happened. I thought it might once the election left the six liberal state run of the New York and eastern regional primaries in back to back weeks.
But it has and I offer some evidence of what is happening.
Two-thirds of the polls taken since or on 4/27 (the day following Trump's last win) have moved in Cruz's favor.
4/18: Trump 39, Cruz 32
4/29: Trump 35, Cruz 37
(RealClearPolitics averages of 5 state-wide polls )
It's important to remember what I note on the air almost constantly: <i>"It is not the precision of the polling that's meaningful, it's the direction."</i>
Something is afoot in Indiana.
This explains the grossly negative twist Trump's team has returned to form with.
Oddly it seems they haven't learned anything.
Let's trace the steps.
Trump gets dismantled in a near neighboring state with similar demography--Wisconsin. Trump hires the consumate insider/enforcer Paul Manafort and has some reorganization take place.
Makes little difference as the race turned to the two most liberal swings through New York and a week later many neighboring states.
Trump's kinder gentler self probably wasn't of much use in those regions given the home field advantages both geographically and philosophically.
But the rest of the race looks far more like Wisconsin than it does New York.
By the end of the eastern swing, Trump is so put out with the new direction Manafort has brought on board that he kicks him back to the corner. Valuable observations about which I expounded upon here on FoxNews:
Up next Indiana--a lot like Wisconsin, and very different than New York, and Trump rolls in with his bombastic, hate-filled, blow hard self.
Two thirds of all the new polls begin to note a dramatic shift to Cruz (who's actually talking to Indianans like the good and decent people that they are) and focusing on jobs, freedom, and security.
One of the polls putting Cruz ahead by perhaps as much as 16%.
And the one that is the most accurate in Indiana political cycles showing major indicators all pointing in Cruz's direction and momentum.And if you look really closely at combined favorables (strongly + somewhat) Cruz leads 46% to 43%. The "no opinion" vote favors Cruz 17% to 12%. And the unfavorables (strongly + somewhat) also favor Cruz 37% to 44%.
And I repeat these are all impressions SINCE Trump was more or less knighted the game over front-runner by the media on Tuesday night.
And since almost all of the polling on Cruz (minus the run through the northeast) gravely always underestimates Cruz's strength in the ground game and GOTV efforts, Cruz might be further ahead than the averages above seem to indicate.
Next Tuesday is NOT a foregone conclusion for either candidate. But as Kasich is more or less slipping from the consciousness all together in the state it appears that the theory of Trump vs a one-on-one opponent is becoming a reality. It is taking shape in maybe the most important battleground of the 2016 cycle (which will quickly be eclipsed by California,) and it again appears that Trump <i>may</i> have trouble closing the deal, building beyond his base, and getting past his tendencies to be himself.
Tuesday will certainly tell.