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Tomorrow is Super Tuesday. On the Republican side, Donald Trump continues to hold a commanding lead both nationally and in nearly every state being contested. No surprise there. But what happened on February 15 or thereabouts?
The Pollster chart on the right shows the state of play over the past few weeks. Since February 15, the non-Trump part of the field has gone nowhere. They attract almost exactly the same aggregate share of the vote today as they did two weeks ago. Trump, by contrast, has gained more than five points.
Is this a bandwagon effect, in which Trump has been picking up undecided voters who felt like they had permission to take him seriously after he won New Hampshire? Is it because Trump is picking up nearly all of the votes of the candidates who have dropped out of the race? Is it somehow related to the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13?
It’s a bit puzzling. Trump’s sudden spike comes after two months of holding pretty steady in the national polls. So what happened on February 15?