— -- If there was ever a day for Republican candidates to halt Donald Trump steamrolling his way to the nomination -- today is that day. And if there was ever a day for Trump to obliterate his opponents’ hopes of being the nominee -- today is also that day.
Five states vote today in what is the most pivotal moment of the 2016 election since Super Tuesday. With so much at stake -- 793 delegates for Democrats and 367 for Republicans -- here is what to watch for in today’s primaries:
Can Kasich Stop Trump-mentum?
The Ohio governor is in a dead heat with party front-runner Donald Trump on Kasich's home turf. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed Kasich and Trump tied with 38 percent support.
In an effort to help stop the Trump "movement," fellow GOP contender Marco Rubio has asked his supporters in the Buckeye State to cast their ballots for the governor.
Mitt Romney has been on the campaign trail for Kasich and fellow Ohioan and retired House Speaker John Boehner said he already voted for Kasich, whom he called a “friend.”
If Kasich prevails, he will pick up his first state win. If he does not, it could be lights out for his campaign.
Clinton and Sanders: Back in a Tight Race
As if there haven’t been enough -- another tight race is expected between Clinton and Sanders.
The former secretary of state leads the Vermont senator by a mere 51-46 percent, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Monday. Both campaigns had a late start in the Buckeye State, opening campaign offices in late February.
Rubio’s Last Stand
Ohio is to Kasich as Florida is to Rubio.
It’s winner-take-all for delegates and it’s Rubio’s last chance to revive his flailing campaign. But several recent polls in the Sunshine State may be bursting Rubio’s bubble, including a new Quinnipiac poll released Monday, showing Trump with nearly a 20-point lead over Rubio.
If the Florida senator loses on his home turf, he will more than likely lose his chance of becoming the Republican nominee in 2016.
Will Sanders Pull Off an Upset?
Clinton, who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, is lacking a strong lead in the state where she was raised. Sanders, who also has ties to the Land of Lincoln (and President Obama) having attended University of Chicago, trails behind Clinton by a close 6 points, according to a NBC/WSJ poll released Sunday.
With the second most delegates at stake for the Democrats, Illinois perhaps offers Sanders the best chance to make up his deficit in delegates.
Talk of Trump’s Rallies
Trump postponed his campaign rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Friday over what his campaign cited as security concerns.
Following the announcement, chaos broke out, the crowd quickly turned aggressive and Trump supporters and protesters clashed inside the pavilion.
Will the images from Friday hurt Trump at the polls?
While the Show-Me State isn’t expected to make or break anyone’s candidacy, it will be interesting to see how the delegates are allocated.
If a GOP candidate earns more than 50 percent of the overall vote, they will receive the 52 delegates at stake. In the case that neither candidate has a clear majority it becomes a winner-take-most situation, where 12 delegates are awarded to the victor and the remaining are split up by congressional district.
In a Fort Hays State University poll released Friday, Trump earned 36 percent Missourian support compared to Cruz’s 29, Rubio's 9 and Kasich’s 8.
On the Democratic side in the poll, Clinton garners 47 percent and Sanders 40, where 84 delegates will be awarded to the winner.
In addition, the poll finds among likely voters, 51 percent plan on voting in the Republican primary over 36 percent who plan on voting in the Democratic primary, the remaining 14 percent are undecided.
The state holds an open primary, and voters can decide today to cast their ballots in favor of a Republican or Democratic candidate.
Another Win for Clinton and Trump?
In years past, North Carolinians cast their votes in early May, giving them a rather late say in the presidential nominating process, and as they head to the polls today it’s likely it will result in another win for party front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Clinton is leading Sanders in both polls and endorsements.
In an Elon University poll released in late February, Clinton earned 47 percent support over Sanders’ 37 percent. The former secretary of state has also been backed by a number of legislators in the Tar Heel State, including House Minority Leader Larry Hall and Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue.
On the GOP side, Trump leads the herd with 28 percent support. Meanwhile, Cruz is in second with 19 percent support, Rubio with 16 and Kasich with 7.
Despite falling behind Cruz and Trump, Rubio has the most endorsements in the state, including one from the U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis.