Below is the most recent compilation of all the national Republican presidential polls, as tracked by HuffPost. Donald Trump is comfortably in first place, followed by Ben Carson. As has been the case for months, Trump and Carson, both non-politicians, are the only two candidates in double figures.
The establishment favorite, Jeb Bush, is in third place but at a dismal 7.3%.
If we agree that none of those candidates polling under 5% have any real shot at becoming the GOP’s nominee, that leaves us with only five candidates: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Under this very likely scenario, the Republican presidential pick will emerge from among this group of five. But who will end up with the prize? Let’s look at the candidates more closely to see if we can predict the eventual champ.
Donald Trump – The celebrity billionaire who came from out of nowhere to rock the Republican establishment is still luxuriating in his fifteen minutes of fame. The man has a loyal, solid backing that will stay with him no matter what stupid things he says or does (some may say that is the basis for his appeal). While his poll numbers are tanking in Iowa, he is still the establishment’s worst nightmare. Will the Party allow this outsider to come out on top? Not if they have any say. They will do everything in their power to dethrone the Donald.
Ben Carson – When you listen to what the affable retired neurosurgeon says, it is clear the man is less politically sophisticated than even Trump. His main support comes from the religious right. But while he may be a hit with Iowa Evangelicals, that won’t be enough to secure the nomination for the fundamentalist doctor.
Jeb Bush – The man with all that early establishment support, and money, is turning out to be a dud. Much of this is due to the fact that he is a terrible campaigner. But the primary reason why his poll numbers have languished in the basement for so long is obvious … he’s a Bush. Most Republican voters have made it clear they do not want another Bush in the White House. Still, I would not give up on Jeb just yet. He is, after all, the man the Party wants and, if history is any guide, they usually get their way. But this time around, it doesn’t feel like “business as usual.” It is somewhat ironical Jeb is seen as “too moderate” for today’s Republican base.
Marco Rubio – The young Senator from Florida is still a little too wet behind the ears for a serious run at the nomination. He is a Washington insider trying to sell himself as an outsider. No matter how much he tries to distance himself from the Beltway, it won’t work. We’ve reached a moment when anti-establishment is in.
Ted Cruz – No one in the media seems to be talking about Cruz’ chances much. Perhaps the most far right candidate in the group, Tea Bagger types hold him in high esteem. He is an effective speaker and knows how to stir up a crowd. Grassroots Republicans just love him. In favorability polls, Cruz always finishes near the top. He is a sitting Senator but his supporters think of him as an outsider. Cruz’s ideology fits in well with where the Republican Party is today. In addition, he is well-liked by Evangelicals. Yes, the adults in the Party hate him. But if it’s either Trump or Carson, look for the Party establishment to “hold its nose” and strike a deal with the renegade Cruz.
I hate to admit this, but right now my pick would be for Cruz to secure the nomination, as ridiculous as that may sound.
What do you think? Leave a comment.