Trump's performance all but fully derailed a last-ditch, apparently ineffective, "Stop Trump" deal between Kasich and Cruz to join forces to prevent the billionaire developer from winning the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination on the first ballot.
As he has in the 46 states and territories that have voted so far, Trump turned in his strongest showing in Northeast counties that are still feeling the lingering effects of the massive job losses of the Great Recession. Some 74 of 107 counties in the five states that voted Tuesday have jobless rates above the national average of 5 percent, according to the latest data available.
To gauge how well Trump is faring with unemployed voters, CNBC has tracked GOP primary results in more than 2,200 counties in the states that have voted so far. (County-level data was not available for all states that have voted.) Of those counties, more than 1,400 had jobless rates above the national average of 5 percent.
Trump has won about three-fourths of those counties with higher-than-average unemployment. Cruz won about 20 percent of those counties, while Kasich won just 2 percent of them.
While Trump has been able to count on a big lead in the popular vote, the GOP's arcane rules of electing delegates — about which he has complained loudly — could work against him.
In three of the five Tuesday primaries (Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island), for example, the GOP rules allocate three delegates based on the winner in each Congressional district, with additional "at-large" statewide delegates. Tuesday's biggest single delegate prize was Pennsylvania, but those delegate counts are more problematic, because they're not all bound to the winning candidate.
Trump secured Pennsylvania's 17 statewide delegates — party members already chosen to go to Cleveland — who are bound to vote for the candidate who wins the most votes, but only on the first ballot.
The remaining 54 delegates were chosen from Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts — but they're not bound on the first vote. That means none of those delegates are reliably in Trump's camp.
"You can go in there and vote for Trump, and vote for three delegates that are three votes against Trump," said Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., a state co-chairman of Trump's campaign, told the Associated Press.