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Political Analyst: Trump Could Face Steeper Challenge If Field Narrows

LOS ANGELES ( — Donald Trump decisively won Nevada's Republican caucuses on Tuesday, winning 46 percent of caucus-goers.

But a political analyst says Trump will have to broaden his support if he ends up in a head-to-head primary competition with another candidate.

Winning a plurality of primary voters or caucus-goers -- say, 35 percent -- is good enough to handily beat a field of four competitors, said political analyst Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. (Trump won more caucus-goers in Nevada than his next two competitors, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, combined).

But 35 percent of the vote against fewer competitors would be a different story.

"Thirty-five percent of the vote against four other candidates is a really big win," Schnur said. "Thirty-five percent of the vote against two other candidates is a dogfight. Thirty-five percent of the vote against one candidate, to use Trump's word, is a loser."

Of course, Trump could also win new voters if other candidates drop out of the race, but the impact of a narrowing field is hard to predict.

At Griffith Park on Wednesday, many potential voters from California and other parts of the country said they understood why Trump's message is resonating with people, although none of the park's visitors said they planned to vote for the billionaire.

"He is blunt and he is saying things that people want to have said, but are afraid to" say themselves, said Bob Doud, a Republican from San Francisco.


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