How are voters expected to lean in Pennsylvania’s primary?

Of the five northeast states holding primaries on Tuesday, Pennsylvania is the biggest prize, with 71 national convention delegates at stake for Republicans and 210 for Democrats. Political reporter Jonathan Tamari from the Philadelphia Inquirer joins Megan Thompson with the latest on what to expect from Tuesday’s vote.

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  • MEGAN THOMPSON, PBS ANCHOR:

    Five Northeast states hold presidential primaries on Tuesday: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Hillary Clinton told a predominantly black church in Philadelphia today she'll fight for every child to live up to their, quote, "God-given potential." Bernie Sanders told supporters in Rhode Island he wants a tax on carbon emissions to reduce global warming. Donald Trump rallied supporters in Maryland today, while Ted Cruz visited Indiana, which votes May 3rd.

    Of the five states holding primaries Tuesday, Pennsylvania is the biggest prize with 71 national convention delegates at stake for the Republicans and 210 delegates for the Democrats. In an NBC News-"Wall Street Journal"-Marist poll released today, Donald Trump is favored by 45 percent of likely Republican voters, and Hillary Clinton is favored by 55 percent of likely Democratic voters.

    For more on the battle for Pennsylvania, I am joined from Philadelphia by Jonathan Tamari, a political reporter with "The Philadelphia Inquirer."

    So I first just wanted to start out by talking about the Republican race. We've got Donald Trump. We've got a conservative senator in Cruz, and then we've got John Kasich, who is the governor of the state right next door to Pennsylvania, Ohio. So can you just talk to us a little bit more about the state of play?

    JOHNATHAN TAMARI, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": So, the state of play is that Donald Trump, as you just recited on that poll, is far ahead so far. And him and Ted Cruz are really competing in a lot of the same areas, the so called "T" of Pennsylvania, which runs across the top of the state and then down through the center in between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. And this is really where the conservative heart of Pennsylvania is.

    For Kasich, after he won Ohio, there was a lot of talk that maybe Pennsylvania would be the next big place where he would really make a strong stand and try to win a primary. And a lot of the establishment here have lined up with him, but it has not been reflected in the polling.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    Can you talk to me a little bit about how the Republicans allocate their delegates for the convention? I understand that Tuesday's primary might not actually decide who they vote for.

  • JOHNATHAN TAMARI:

    That's right. There are 71 delegates in the state, but only 17 of them are actually going to go to the person who wins statewide. The other 54 will be unbound when they head to the convention in Cleveland, which means they could vote for anybody they want.

    And so the subplot to all this, aside from who wins the big headline of winning the state, is who gets their delegates elected. The delegates will be chosen by the voters, by congressional district. And Cruz and Trump each have their own loyalists on the ballot. The party establishment has a number of candidates on the ballot, too, who talk about wanting someone who is electable, which really points to John Kasich.

    And so, this say low-information election that all the candidates are trying to educate their voters about to make sure that their delegates get chosen and then stay loyal to them in the months between now and the convention in Cleveland.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama back in 2008, and she's got a strong lead in the polls. But even still, how is she separating herself from Bernie Sanders on the issues?

  • JOHNATHAN TAMARI:

    The main issue she has been focusing on, and she has been touring this morning, even, African-American churches. And she is talking a lot about gun violence, which we know is something that she has been critical of Senator Sanders on not being strong enough on gun laws. And even in a local aspect, she is in favor. There is a big debate in Philadelphia right now over a tax on sugary drinks, the so-called soda tax. She has actually come out in favor of this as a way to fund universal preschool.

    Senator Sanders is opposed to this. He said that it would exacerbate inequalities. But Clinton has really deep ties to Pennsylvania, and she's leading pretty much across the board here except among younger voters.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    All right. Jonathan Tamari of "The Philadelphia Inquirer," thank you so much for joining us.

  • JOHNATHAN TAMARI:

    Thanks for having me.

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