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Boom: Cruz 40, Trump 30 in New Wisconsin Poll

"No matter what he does, Trump always goes up in the polls!" That's the line Trump followers routinely employ when their man dives face-first into the latest unseemly controversy
du jour -- including, most recently, spreading conspiracy theories to justify attacking and threatening Ted Cruz's wife. The reality is that while Trump's boorish showmanship doesn't harm his standing among a certain percentage of the GOP primary electorate, it most certainly hurts him among voters generally. The brash billionaire's overall unfavorable ratings have swelled to the mid-60's, spiking into the stratosphere among women. And now we have a fresh data point pertaining to Republican voters in the crucial primary state of Wisconsin, where voters head to the polls next Tuesday. If Trump manages to prevail in Badgerland -- which boasts a robust and distinctly anti-Trump conservative talk radio culture and a conservative governor who's endorsed Cruz -- his victory would likely confer a sense of inevitability upon Trump's candidacy. With New York looming, this is about as close to a must-win as Cruz is going to face in the month of April. A new survey from Marquette Law School, widely viewed as the gold standard polling outfit in the state, shows Cruz erasing Trump's ten-point February lead and leaping out to a ten-point advantage of his own:


If Trump were the dominant frontrunner that he claims to be (having won less than 40 percent of the popular vote thus far), one would expect to see a tangible bandwagon effect gathering, with reluctant Republicans finally rallying around their presumptive nominee. This survey shows Cruz leading by a significant margin, with John Kasich pulling in more than one-fifth of GOP voters. Cruz and Kasich's combined tallies more than double Trump's.  There is no coalescence around this uniquely flawed candidate.  Looking ahead to the general election, a familiar theme plays out:

Kasich, who's played Mr. Nice Guy this cycle, leads Hillary handily; Cruz ties her, and Trump gets blown out -- thanks to the majority of voters who say they'd be "very uncomfortable" with a Trump candidacy -- dwarfing the rest of the field, but with Hillary also sucking wind on that measure.  Trump is losing 
three-quarters of Republican women in Wisconsin, which shouldn't come as a surprise.  Keep in mind that this survey was in the field before Trump's campaign manager was arrested in connection to a physical altercation he had with a female reporter, about which he lied.  Trump has defended his top aide, insisting that he's loyal to his people (not true in this case, when his ego was bruised, rather than a woman's arm), and suggesting that the reporters' bruising may have pre-dated the incident (false, according to a credible eyewitness). On the Democratic side of the race, Bernie Sanders has expanded his lead over Clinton in Wisconsin to four points, which likely explains why Team Hillary is frantically downplaying expectations.  "Thank heavens for elitist, undemocratic SuperDelegates," she must be thinking.  One more interesting stat from Marquette's numbers:

Trump has been running around the state trashing Walker, using totally invented statistics on deficits, debt and unemployment. Click through for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's borderline-incredulous fact check of Trump's bogus attacks -- one of which Trump keeps employing even though he verifiably knows it is false because he's previously (and 
wrongly, of course) blamed it on the liberal media. Maybe Wisconsin Republicans just aren't into a loudmouth, low-information insult machine who attacks their governor for not raising taxes, and who believes that providing education and healthcare are two of the federal government's top three responsibilities. Before you go, be sure to read Jim Geraghty's furious kiss-off to Trump fans, as well as a disturbing account of the latest violent flare-up (replete with the N-word) outside of a Trump rally.  And I'll leave you with this information, which a strong majority of Wisconsin conservatives seem to be internalizing:

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