Way back last summer, every US Presidential hopeful will have earmarked March 1 as a crucial point in their campaigns, and now that day is upon us, it’s crunch time for those who remain in the race.
This applies to no-one more so than Ted Cruz, whose campaign could be given a huge boost or kicked firmly into touch as 11 states take to the polls.
With a host of southern states taking part, this year’s Super Tuesday has come to be known as the SEC Primary, and for Texas Junior Senator Cruz, it’s vital for his campaign that he shows well.
However, despite opening with a win in Iowa and third in New Hampshire, failure to beat Donald Trump in South Carolina was a huge blow to the 45-year-old, with his expected evangelical and Tea Party support failing to come through into votes.
Cruz’s odds promptly flew right out from 8/1 to 33s, and only a sizeable success this week can reel him in.
Though a Texas win would be significant – 155 of Tuesday’s 878 delegates on offer are to be won here – a strong home showing is unlikely to be enough for Cruz and it’s just 2/1 that he drops out or suspends his campaign by March 8.
A recent CNN/OCR poll had 49 per cent of Republican voters sitting on Donald Trump’s side of the fence.
Trump – 1/4 favourite to win the Republican nomination – took a pasting from Cruz and Rubio in last Thursday’s televised debate, but while they may have garnered support that evening, it remains to be seen if voters follow through on Super Tuesday, and that CNN poll suggests it won’t.
Trump’s camp has also been boosted by the surprise endorsement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Should Cruz crash and burn across the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, his campaign will be all but over, and that could only boost Rubio’s hopes.
The pair have arguably split a sizable number of anti-Trump votes between them, to their detriment, but while Cruz tries to oust Trump in the south, Rubio has been busy rallying support elsewhere, with Massachusetts and Vermont also set to cast their decisions.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.