There are now only three weeks until voting begins in Iowa for the 2016 presidential primary races. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are close in the early voting states.
In Iowa, Ted Cruz–the senator from Texas–is actually leading Trump in the polls. According to a NBC/WSJ poll of likely Republican caucus-goers, Sen. Cruz is polling at 28 percent, while Trump is at 24 percent. It’s worth noting that among all likely Iowa caucus-goers, Trump has a 2 percentage point lead over Cruz.
In a Fox News poll released Friday, Cruz was once again found to have a slight lead over Trump in Iowa. The poll found Cruz to have 27 percent support, and Trump had 23 percent. That same Fox News poll also found some troubling news for the Trump campaign. A whopping 31 percent of likely caucus-goers say that they would “never” support Trump. Those who say they would never back Cruz was at just 7 percent.
The atmosphere in New Hampshire appears to be pretty different from the one in Iowa. Trump has a commanding lead with 30 percent support, with Marco Rubio in second with 14 percent. Cruz comes in fourth with 10 percent.
Both Mr. Trump and Cruz are anti-establishment Republicans. While many voters who’ve become disillusioned with the Republican establishment would love to see Cruz or Trump elected, traditional Republicans are frightened at the idea.
Many more moderate Republicans believe both Cruz and Trump are damaging the Republican brand. They think the two candidates are too radical, too far from the center, and that they will change the GOP party in a destructive way.
Not only does the GOP establishment want to keep Cruz and Trump out of the White House, but they also don’t think either candidate could be elected. Republican strategist Alex Castellanos told PBS that Cruz would cost Republicans the general election if he won the nomination. He went further and said that the Texas senator would also cost the GOP its future.
“Cruz would not only cost us the general, he would cost the GOP the future. Trump is not a Republican and he is not a conservative,”
No other candidates’ success has been as mystifying as Donald Trump’s. The real estate mogul has been at or near the top of the GOP polls essentially since he launched his campaign. To make matters even more perplexing, Trump has reportedly not spent nearly as much money on his campaign as the other candidates.
One candidate who has no shortage of donations is Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush. Even with hundreds of millions in donations, Jeb has been running a losing campaign for months now.
The success of Trump is often blamed–at least partially–on the media. One Republican insider from New Hampshire told Politico that he blames the media’s desperation for Trump’s rise.
“The desperation of the media to chase ratings and give unprecedented free airtime to Trump, with little or no attempt to scrutinize his record, his statements, his flip-flopping, or his shady track record,”
If anything, the media’s non-stop reporting on Trump should have hurt his polling numbers. With the many controversial statements the presidential candidate has made, one would think publicing everything he says would hurt him, but that hasn’t been the case.
With each offensive or controversial remark Trump makes, he typically only gains in the polls. Oddly, the candidates that have attacked Trump the hardest, like Jeb, have only seen their poll numbers fall.
If establishment candidates weren’t worried before, they certainly are now. The two leading candidates are far from traditional GOP candidates and changing that may prove impossible.
[Photo by John Locher/AP]