The Nevada Republican caucuses are Tuesday night, and that means the five remaining GOP candidates will face off in their last nominating contest before March 1, when a slew of delegates will be awarded in 12 states across the country.
Heading into the Silver State, the Republican candidates were coming off a bruising contest in the South Carolina primary that left front-runner Donald Trump picking up all 50 of that state’s delegates and spurred former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to drop out of the 2016 race. Many analysts had expected Trump to do well in South Carolina, but the lackluster finishes for the rest of the field strongly suggested that the New York billionaire is well on his way to the nomination.
Nevada is notoriously difficult to poll, and just two polls have been conducted for Republicans there in 2016. As such, the numbers ahead of Tuesday night did give an indication of how the race was likely to play out. Here’s how each Republican candidate was doing in the polls as of early Tuesday evening.
Businessman Donald Trump
The latest Nevada poll, conducted by Gravis Marketing from Feb. 14-15, had Trump at 39 percent, leading his competitors by a wide margin. In national polls, the billionaire maintained his double-digit lead as well, standing at an average of 33.6 percent support, according to Real Clear Politics.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Cruz was 16 points behind Trump in the Gravis Marketing Nevada poll, leaving him at 19 percent support. Nevada is known for its conservative but libertarian-minded voters, which means the state could be an important one for the Texas senator, who has done well among the right wing of the Republican Party. The senator stood at 20.4 percent in national polling averages.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
Rubio, who has not yet won a nominating contest, was at 19 percent in the Nevada poll and at 16.4 percent nationally ahead of Tuesday’s caucuses. He has recently racked up a pile of establishment endorsements after Jeb Bush dropped out of the race but will still need to prove he can take on Trump in the coming primaries.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
After a strong performance in New Hampshire, Kasich did not do well in South Carolina. He received 9 percent support in the Nevada poll and remains in fourth place nationally, holding 9.8 percent on average.
Retired Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson
Carson's campaign has mostly collapsed over the past few months, and both Nevada and national polls had him in fifth place ahead of the Silver State caucuses. He had 5 percent in Nevada and 7.4 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls.