The 2016 predictions are starting to look very good for Donald Trump, with a growing number of political pundits seeing the Republican front-runner as having a very good — or even the best — chance at winning the presidential election.
Trump took over the lead in Republican polls this summer and has held onto it through a series of controversies, including a call to ban all non-U.S. Muslims from entering the country. Through all that, his lead has actually grown, and as the calendar turns to 2016, he has started to put rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in his rear view.
CNN has now referred to Trump as a “dominant force,” noting that he is far ahead of Cruz in the latest CNN/ORC poll. Trump reached 39 percent support, more than double Cruz’s 18 percent.
Others say the early primaries will be key, and if Trump can win early and extend this streak as voting moves to more moderate states, then support may build around him and sweep him to the nomination.
Donald Trump has been boastful of his status as front-runner, often sharing polls that show him atop the field, and has his own 2016 prediction. Trump said this week that the race will boil down to a two-man battle with Ted Cruz.
Are Donald Trump’s poll numbers understated? https://t.co/c4Iw4a8c9M
— Trump 2016! (@risetoflyy) January 1, 2016
— Robyn (@rossr122) December 30, 2015
“Ultimately, it’s probably going to come down to me against him,” Trump said on on NBC’s Today show (via the Washington Times). “I have a very, very big lead right now. You know I like to win, and you know I win. Let’s see what happens.”
Trump has noted a collegiality between himself and Cruz through the campaigns so far, but said ‘I’m sure the [peace] will end” as the primaries start, as “at some point we’re going to have to go after each other.”
And the polls show a split result for both, with Cruz leading in Iowa while Trump with a double-digit lead over Cruz in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Even political experts who don’t believe in Donald Trump as much have some favorable 2016 predictions. Nate Cohn of the New York Times expressed doubt that Trump can maintain his lead as primaries begin but said that Trump may be able to hold on and hold off more “established” mainstream candidates like Rubio.
“The primary calendar is structured in a way that makes it easier for the party to take its time, too, because relatively moderate blue states come later in the season. The longer it takes for the establishment to elevate a strong candidate, though, the greater the odds that no candidate earns a majority of delegates before the convention.
“Ultimately, the longer the rest of the party remains as weak and fractured as it is, the easier it is to imagine how a candidate with a high floor and a low ceiling, like Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz, could thread the needle to the nomination.”
The good 2016 predictions for Donald Trump extend beyond the GOP primaries. Despite being a politically polarizing figure, Trump does very well in polls against Hillary Clinton. The latest polls show the two in a dead heat for a hypothetical 2016 matchup, trailing Clinton by just two points and one point in the latest two polls.
While the 2016 predictions look good for Donald Trump, much will depend on the next few weeks. Pundits noted that at this point in previous elections, the polls have been topped by front runners who ended up failing to gain the nomination (Hillary Clinton in 2008, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in 2012). So Trump’s ability to hold onto that lead and keep winning will be key to a potential November victory.
[Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]