The primaries tonight have helped solidify Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican Party nomination. Trump’s wins in Florida and North Carolina and his strong second-place finish in Ohio point to a base of support that could be critical in November since all three states are expected to be competitive battlegrounds in the general election this November. But the contours of this multi-candidate primary contest can mask the fact that a majority of the GOP electorate picked someone other than Trump tonight—whether it was Cruz, Rubio or Kasich. Should Trump win the party nomination, he will need to gain their support in the general election match-up
All told, just over half of the GOP voters in Florida picked a candidate other than Trump. In North Carolina six in 10 voters chose someone other than Trump; in Ohio the figure is even higher.
Across all three states, a minority of those who voted for someone other than Trump say they would be satisfied if the general election comes down to a contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton. In Florida, about half of those voting for someone other than Trump say they would seriously consider voting for a third party candidate in November.
Dissatisfaction with a Trump vs. Clinton contest is even higher in North Carolina and Ohio. Fully six in 10 North Carolinians whose primary backing went to someone other than Trump say they would consider voting for a third party candidate in November.
The same pattern holds true in Ohio, where nearly two-thirds of those who chose someone other than Trump say they would consider a third-party option in November; about three in 10 say they would be satisfied with a general election match-up of Trump and Clinton.