Heard about this election day, but Philip Bump in the Washington Post provides more details: Donald Trump won early voting, but Ted Cruz’s percentage of the vote soared on election day:
One of two things happened in Louisiana. We know that the margins between the top three candidates in the state shifted dramatically between votes cast by absentee ballot and those cast on Saturday, the day of the election. That means that either that: 1) A candidate had a very strong get-out-the-vote effort, or 2) There was a broad shift in attitudes about the candidates.
When we looked at this Saturday night, it wasn’t clear which was the case. Now, we have a better sense.
If we look at the votes in counties* for which we have data (culled from the AP’s initial and final vote tallies), you can see that Ted Cruz gained strength after the absentee vote.
this looks like the state of Louisiana bailed on Marco Rubio in favor of Ted Cruz. Which could explain why Cruz is targeting Florida all of a sudden. On Saturday night, Donald Trump called for Rubio to drop out of the race. If he can repeat what he did in Louisiana in Florida in just over a week, Cruz will take Rubio out himself.
This pattern mirrors what Cruz did in the 2012 Texas Senate race. Dewhurst beat Cruz by 18% in early voting, but only 3% on primary day, a massive momentum shift that turned into a Cruz victory in the runoff.
Cruz is a smart, disciplined, relentless campaigner, and after Trump’s early successes in open primaries, we’re finally seeing Trump hit his ceiling and Cruz surge ahead as the superior candidate, especially in closed primary and caucus states.
That momentum, and the widespread distaste for Trump, is why many in the Republican establishment are finally, reluctantly, turning to Cruz as the only way to stop Trump.