Only about half of Indiana’s Republican primary voters said they were excited or even optimistic about any of their remaining candidates becoming president, according to exit polls. Still, most said they probably would support whoever won for the GOP.
Clinton, too, needs to win over Sanders’ enthusiastic supporters. The Vermont senator has cultivated a deeply loyal following in particular among young people, a group Democrats count on in the general election.
Sanders has conceded his strategy hinges on persuading superdelegates to back him over the former secretary of state. Superdelegates are Democratic Party insiders who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of how their states vote. And they favor Clinton by a nearly 18-1 margin.
Exit polls showed about 7 in 10 Indiana Democrats said they’d be excited or at least optimistic about either a Clinton or Sanders presidency. Most said they would support either in November.
The exit polls were conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.
A fall showdown between Clinton and Trump would pit one of Democrats’ most experienced political figures against a first-time candidate who is deeply divisive within his own party. Cruz and other Republicans have argued that Trump would be roundly defeated in the general election, denying their party the White House for a third straight term.
Republican leaders spent months dismissing Trump as little more than an entertainer who would fade once voting started. Cruz was among those who actively tried to align themselves with Trump and called him “terrific.”
As Trump began to pick up wins, Cruz became more critical of his rival’s policies. Still, his torrent of attacks Tuesday was by far the most pointed and personal of the campaign to date.
Trump has now won seven straight primary contests and has 80 percent of the delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. Cruz, as well as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, can only hope to keep him from the 1,237 delegates he needs and push the GOP race to a contested convention.
Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report from Washington.
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