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Donald Trump wins Massachusetts Republican primary

Trump has won Virginia's Republican primary.
Trump has won Virginia's Republican primary.
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Donald Trump has won the Massachusetts primary, a call made early Tuesday night as polls closed.

Trump's victory was expected. He'd been polling extraordinarily well in the state — late polls had him leading by double-digit margins.

Massachusetts awards its 42 delegates proportionally to candidates who get more than 5 percent of the vote. That means even John Kasich — a candidates who is generally a nonfactor in the race for the nomination — could end up drawing delegates away from Trump and cutting into his lead.

New England is Trump territory

The Northeast has long been Trump's strongest region. He's polled well there both nationally and in individual states.

Among other factors, Republicans in the Northeast generally care less about religion than Republicans in the South, who are far more likely to describe themselves as frequent churchgoers and born-again Christians. And although Trump has successfully won over evangelicals, he's still a candidate who slipped up on the name of the books of the Bible, suggesting that he's not a true believer like Ted Cruz.

Still, some Massachusetts voters could have warmed to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who came in second in nearby New Hampshire, or to Sen. Marco Rubio, who appeals to wealthy, well-educated Republicans who are relatively common in the state. Massachusetts's electorate in 2012 was wealthier and better-educated than that of other Super Tuesday states: 56 percent were college graduates, and 40 percent earned at least $100,000 per year.

It's too early to tell if the composition of the 2016 electorate was similar to that in 2012's primary. But if it was, that suggests that Rubio failed to close the deal even in states where demographics were relatively friendly to his campaign.

Trump could have a very, very good night

Despite other candidates' likely success in picking up delegates, the story of the night is the unstoppable juggernaut that Trump has apparently become. Ahead of Super Tuesday, he was polling strongly in seven of the 11 states, including Massachusetts, where Republicans voted. Three of the remaining four states simply hadn't polled enough to tell. And Trump appears to be on track to win at least most, if not all, of them.