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The Lid: Trump’s Unexpected Advantage

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Donald Trump on Tuesday compared Ted Cruz to "a little baby." Which could be considered a compliment nowadays, since we're confident that babies in general have a MUCH higher net favorable rating than any of the candidates running for president.

'16 from 30,000

Donald Trump isn't exactly thought of as a candidate of inclusion. But our colleague Dante Chinni highlights some numbers from last week's GOP primary in South Carolina that may surprise you. Trump performed very well in counties with large minority populations. There are 28 counties in the Palmetto State where the white, non-Hispanic population is below that of the overall state average of 62.9 percent. Trump outperformed the percentage of the vote he earned statewide in 25 of those 28 counties. It means that -- at least in the GOP nominating contests -- signs indicate that voters who live in more diverse communities may be more likely to back him.

It's an encouraging sign for Trump heading into tonight's caucuses in the racially diverse state of Nevada. But, as Chinni notes, there are factors beyond race that help explain why Trump does well in diverse counties. Polls consistently show that Trump does better with voters who have lower incomes and lower levels of educational attainment. Those high diversity counties in South Carolina also tend to have lower income and education levels. And in our latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, only 13 percent of African Americans and 15 percent of Hispanics say they have positive feelings about Trump.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

Five candidates are hoping to hit the jackpot in Nevada after tonight's caucuses, one of us writes.

GOP candidates renewed their rallying cries to preserve Guantanamo after President Obama called on Congress to close the U.S. military prison.

A top official with the Koch Brothers is leaving his perch to join Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

NBC News' now former Jeb Bush embed Jordan Frasier writes about the seven moments that best explain the former Florida governor's failed presidential run.

Dante Chinni reports on how diversity may actually help Donald Trump in tonight's caucuses.

In "Tales from the Trail:" Hillary Clinton goes looking for 'Scandal.'

FOR THE RECORD…

  • "He is like a little baby, soft weak little baby by comparison. But for lying, he's the best I've ever seen."

- Donald Trump, on Ted Cruz.

TOMORROW'S SKED

Hillary Clinton continues campaigning in South Carolina, while Bernie Sanders holds rallies in Kansas City and Tulsa.

Donald Trump speaks at the Regents University Presidential Forum in Virginia Beach.

Cruz, Carson, Rubio and Kasich all appear at a town hall in Houston sponsored by Fox.