The Nevada Caucus will take place this evening. In a post from last week, I predicted that Trump and Cruz would do better than expected, with Trump winning easily. I still expect Trump to win easily, perhaps by 20 points. Second place is now more in doubt.
Cruz had been looking for a strong finish here thanks to his organizational ability and reputation as an unwavering conservative. But his prospects have been falling in the final days. Yesterday Cruz fired his Communications Director because of false stories he was distributing about other candidates. While Cruz has tried to spin the story as him maintaining high standards for his staff, most people will understand that Cruz either supported dissemination of these false stories, or had no control over his own staff. Either way, it reflects poorly on him. Despite his organizational ability, it tells voters the Cruz campaign is not running like the fine tuned well oiled machine that it needs to rack up wins. People looking for a winner Trump alternative may go elsewhere.
Rubio seems to do better when he shuts up, and he's been shutting up lately. With Bush now out of the race, Rubio's chances of a second place finished are greatly enhanced.
There are little to no expectations for Kasich or Carson to break double digits in Nevada. Expect both to be non-factors here.
This is the last Republican Contest before Super Tuesday next week. Expect the main story to be Trump dominating. If Rubio can pull out a solid second, it will also help him going into Super Tuesday as the Trump alternative.