There’s been a lot of jousting this cycle about who’s establishment, who’s an outsider, and who can shake up Washington and the Republican Party. But now that the PAC money has been spent, and the voters have spoken in Iowa and New Hampshire, we now know who the establishment likes, and who they hate.
The exit polls show that on issue after issue, the establishment-friendly voters simply weren’t interested in TEA party upstart Marco Rubio. They didn’t want a conservative. They want John Kasich or Jeb Bush.
The New Hampshire exit polling isn’t even close. Moderates favored Kasich 28, Bush 14, Rubio 8 (with Trump at 32). Voters with college degrees favored Kasich 19, Bush 12, Rubio 12 (with Trump at 29). Voters 45 and up went to Kasich. Voters who want legal status for illegal aliens went to Kasich.
On every issue, and every population segmentation, that separates establishment-friendly voters from conservative voters, Kasich beat Rubio. Moderates heard Rush Limbaugh backing Rubio, they heard Jeb Bush and Chris Christie attacking Rubio, and they saw his track record of defying party bosses, and compiling a voting record with a very strong Heritage Action rating.
It may yet be the case that anti-establishment voters will have to congregate around Ted Cruz, though it’s too soon to do that. But there’s no question about it: Rubio is an anti-establishment candidate. The establishment candidates and PACs are treating him as one, and so too are the establishment voters.
Anyone telling you Rubio is establishment, is selling something.