Now that his only realistic Republican rival has dropped out, Donald Trump is almost certain to take on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the November election, and almost certain to lose.
Ted Cruz suspended his campaign on Wednesday after a humiliating loss in the US state of Indiana, making the billionaire businessman the presumptive Republican candidate, it being mathematically impossible for the remaining candidate, John Kasich, to win the necessary 1237 delegates.
While the prospect of a Trump presidency has spooked world leaders, the consistent findings of America’s big pollsters is that the mouthy billionaire is headed for defeat.
Trump tells us his presidency would shred free trade agreements, deepen US military involvement in the Middle East and force Mexican taxpayers to splash billions of dollars on a 2000-mile wall to block illegal immigrants entering Texas and California.
Based on his recent public comments, The Donald would also fill the White House with lots of “beautiful” women and slap a ban on female staff who breastfeed babies.
He says he is prepared to throw open the doors of the White House to some “ugly people” – so long as they have the expertise to execute his policy agenda, which includes deporting Muslims.
It is the average American woman who may defeat him.
Women voters may sink Trump
The main factor working against Trump is public perceptions he is sexist.
Last month he accepted an endorsement from former world boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson. It was the latest in a series of missteps that have undermined his electability.
A poll conducted by CNN last month found only 34 per cent of American women would support Trump at a national election.
He also faces a backlash from Republican women, with surveys showing that more than one in 10 would vote against him in a race against Clinton.
Trump’s best chance of success might rest in the hands of FBI investigators.
The FBI is continuing to probe whether Clinton breached US security laws when she was Secretary of State in Barack Obama’s first administration by sending official emails from a home computer.
If charges are laid against Clinton before November, Trump might just stroll into power.
Turnout may not equal votes
A popular theory is that Trump may clinch the presidency by convincing more Americans to vote, but public opinion polls contradict this argument.
Because voting is not compulsory in the US, voter turnout is crucial. Republicans hope the higher voter turnouts in their state primaries compared to the Democratic race will feed into electoral advantage in November.
Clinton, who is also on the cusp of defeating party rival Bernie Sanders, has done little to inspire Democrats on the hustings. This is reflected in the declining numbers of party members voting in this year’s nomination race. By contrast, Trump has mobilised millions of voters who previously had not even contemplated voting in the primaries.
But most polls indicate Clinton would comfortably beat Trump in November.
According to US election website realclearpolitics.com, she leads Trump by 46.7 per cent to 40.5 per cent in a head-to-head general election. This is an average for 28 national polls (conducted by Fox News, CNN and others) taken since January this year.
Clinton’s lead is slightly higher for polls taken since the start of April, including a Wall St Journal survey taken on April 28, which had her ahead by 11 percentage points at 50 per cent to 39 per cent.
She also leads in the four key swing states of Florida, Ohio, Minnesota and Virginia, which usually predict the final result.