A couple of new polls have been released that are significant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they both have reputable sample sizes and are actual surveys, not the trash you get from You.gov and Zogby Interactive. Second they show Donald Trump with a substantial lead over any of his rivals.

First up, and the juiciest, is one by the Saint Petersburg Times. It shows Donald Trump leading field and beating Jeb Bush 26% to 20% in FLORIDA. The poll has a very robust sample of over 1900 respondents — likely primary voters — encompassing all major Florida media markets which makes it as reliable (MOE 2.2%)  as any poll you are going to get.

st pete poll

 

Today, Quinnipiac released a poll showing similar results. There’s was a national poll of registered voters with a much smaller sample (710 GOP respondents) and an MOE (3.7%) that puts it toward the outer bounds of credibility. This polls puts Trump in front with 20%, followed by Scott Walker (13%) and Jeb Bush (10%).

quinnipiac poll

The consistency in the polls underscores two salient facts. First, the first tier of candidates is Trump, Walker, and Bush. The second is that, at this stage of the race, Trump is the clear leader. The GOP Establishment, the donor class, and some of my colleagues don’t like that, but the facts are inescapable. Will that remain the case? Because in 1992 the GOP was swooning over Ross Perot and in 2008 Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were kicking ass at this stage of the game. Why Trump is in the lead is much more clear. Earlier in the week, Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban had this to say:

“I don’t care what his actual positions are,” Cuban wrote. “I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Indeed, the outspoken investor said Trump “changed the game.”

“Up until Trump announced his candidacy the conventional wisdom was that you had to be a professional politician in order to run,” Cuban continued. “You had to have a background that was politically scrubbed. In other words, smart people who didn’t live perfect lives could never run. Smart people who didn’t want their families put under the media spotlight wouldn’t run. The Donald is changing all of that. He has changed the game and for that he deserves a lot of credit.

“Now maybe we will accept candidates warts and all and look at what they can do rather than what headlines they create,” Cuban concluded. “Congrats Donald.”

As Erick has observed twice, the GOP actually created Donald Trump.

The number one thing you hear when you ask any Republican about Donald Trump is this — he fights. You hear it from Rush Limbaugh. You hear it from other talk radio show hosts. You hear it from the base. You hear it even from some Democrats. And in all cases, you hear it somewhat admirably. They may not like or endorse Trump, but they respect that he just doesn’t give a crap and fights.

Now, consider what the Republican Party has done in that time.

  • They’ve refused to pass a late-term abortion bill in the House because a handful of members objected.
  • They gave Barack Obama a blank check to raise the debt limit.
  • They punted on Obamacare fights.
  • They’ve refused to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • They’ve taken retaliatory actions against conservative members who’ve stood up for Republican Party principles.
  • They’ve worked to fund the Export-Import Bank.
  • They have refused to stop Barack Obama’s ongoing assault against the free market.
  • They have passed the buck to courts to stop Obama on immigration, etc.

In short, the GOP has not fought. They have not been aggressive. They have been so scared of being disliked that they have become disliked. That is the reality.

When criticism are made of Trump that he gave money to Democrats, etc, one only has to look at [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]’s speech on the floor of the Senate last week:

“We’ve had a Republican majority in both houses of Congresses now for about six months. What has that majority done? First thing we did, in December, we passed a $1 trillion crominbus plan filled with pork and corporate welfare. Then this Republican majority voted to fund Obamacare, voted to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. And then the leadership rammed through the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general.”

Cruz added: “Madam President, which of those decisions would be one iota different if Harry Reid were still majority leader? Not a one. Not a one.”

When the GOP points out the Democrat leaning programs that Trump has supported, you have to ask “okay, how are his positions different from the actual actions you have taken?”

The GOP claims Trump is a fraud and huckster. How can any sane person look at [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] or [mc_name name=’Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’H000338′ ] or [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] and not come to the same conclusion about them?

I don’t think Trump will be the nominee for a lot of reasons but the GOP candidates had better start looking seriously at what is putting the wind at his back if they want to win.