We are little more than one week away from the first contest of the 2016 primary season and the story that we thought we were seeing may be radically changing. Via FoxNews:
Trump 34, Cruz 23, Rubio 12, Carson 7, Bush 4, Paul 6, Christie 4, Huckabee 2, Kasich 2, Fiorina 1, Santorum 2
This is virtually a repeat of the the CNN/ORC poll released last week that, at the time, looked like an outlier
Trump 37, Cruz 26, Rubio 14, Carson 6, Bush 3, Paul 2, Christie 1, Huckabee 3, Kasich 1, Fiorina 1, Santorum 1
We've grown comfortable with the Cruz leading, followed by Trump, with Rubio and Carson fighting for third place model. That seems to have vanished.
Quite honestly, it is hard to credit the Iowa vote swinging from a Cruz +2 in the highly regarded Des Moines Register poll towards Trump by 13 points absent a complete collapse of the Cruz candidacy. And we certainly haven't seen that. But I try not to do analysis based on hope, so here it is.
We are seeing one of two things. Either Trump is getting ready to run away the election or the polls are grossly overstating his support. In support of the latter proposition, folks who have participated in the Iowa Caucuses in the past are of a uniform opinion that Trump's strength in Iowa does not accurately reflect his ability to actually get people to caucus sites. In defense of the former assertion, people who have primary election experience have so far been 100% wrong about everything to do with Trump.
If Trump wins Iowa, it will show he does have a ground game that the professionals simply don't understand. The implication for that is that his poll numbers in New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina are very real and there is actually no stopping him. We need to keep that in mind as we watch what happens in Iowa.