A whole host of pre-holiday polls show that Ted Cruz is about to have a very merry Christmas. For the first time since the collapse of Ben Carson, Donald Trump has some real competition. Nationally, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Trump leading with 28%, but the Texas Republican Senator is right on his heels with 24% support.
This same Quinnipiac poll shows Cruz tied with Hillary Clinton at 44%. Trump loses to Clinton 40% to 47%. What’s interesting is that Clinton is a very well known figure, one of the most famous politicians in the country, and even against Trump she tops out at 47%.
In New Hampshire, Trump leads with 24% support. Cruz is now in second at 16%.
Cruz has jumped to second place in Florida. Trump is still in first with 29%, Cruz sits at 18%.
According to the most recent poll out of Iowa, Cruz is outright beating Trump, 40% to 31%.
While there is no question Trump is still in the lead, Cruz definitely has the wind at his back.
The other big story out of this latest round of polls is the continuing collapse of the Republican Establishment, specifically favorite son Marco Rubio.
Nationally, in the Quinnipiac poll, Rubio, at 12%, lost -5 points; while Cruz surged +8. Between Trump, Carson, and Cruz, the anti-establishment garners an astounding 62% national support. Trump and Cruz alone eat up 52%. Assuming Cason doesn’t rebound, that 10% is almost certainly going to go to either Trump or Cruz.
Jeb Bush and Chris Christie only have 8% nationally to leave to an Establishment candidate. The two governors sit at 4.5% and 3.5%, respectively.
Trump, Cruz, and Carson eat up 53% of the vote in Florida. Not-so-favorite sons Bush and Rubio languish with a total of 27% support, 10% and 17% respectively.
The same is true in South Carolina, where the anti-Establishment vote practically runs the table with 65% support. Rubio sits at a pathetic 12%.
Even in the Establishment Firewall of New Hampshire, Cruz and Trump earn an impressive 40% support. Bush, Christie and Rubio together only reach 36%.
What this tells us is that with the possible exception of New Hampshire, even if the GOP Establishment does consolidate around a single candidate, which is unlikely until after South Carolina, it might not work.
As of now, with about 5 weeks until the actual voting begins, 2016 is looking like a race no one imagined: Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz while, with bitter tears streaming down their plump cheeks, the Establishment presses its snotty nose against the glass wondering why voters won’t ask them to come out and play.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC