One poll, CNN’s, gives him a five-point lead while another, Monmouth’s, has it at 10 points. (CNN’s sample of Republicans is a bit larger, for what it’s worth.) Trump’s lead in each isn’t as significant as the topline number, though. Remember that stretch of eight national polls taken after the last GOP debate where his numbers dipped a bit? He topped out at 26 percent in one of them and scored 23 percent once and 21 percent twice. To all appearances, he had stalled. In the six national polls taken this month, though, he’s rebounded, notching 27, 27, 24, 28, 25, and 27 percent. Two weeks ago, his polling average briefly dipped as low as 22.8 percent. Today, according to RCP, he’s back to 26.2. Now you know why there are so many big-media commentators this week speculating openly that Trump really might win the nomination. Not only is he not fading, he’s regained some strength.

And so, per Byron York, his opponents must now prepare for war.

Over the weekend I talked to a leading conservative who opposes Trump. I asked what would happen if January comes and Trump is still dominating the race. Would he and other conservatives make their peace with Trump’s candidacy, or would there be massive resistance?

“Massive resistance,” was the answer. “He’s not a conservative.”…

“I don’t think Trump can withstand 10,000 points of smart negative in Iowa and New Hampshire,” says one veteran Republican strategist who is not affiliated with any campaign. “It would force him to spend money. That’s when this starts to get real for him.” (“Points” refers to gross ratings points, a way of measuring TV ad buys; 10,000 points would be a really big buy, meaning the average viewer would see an anti-Trump ad many, many times.)…

The triggers for the anti-Trump onslaught would likely be: 1) if next month arrives with Trump still in the lead, and 2) if Trump begins airing his own ads. “Once that starts, you’ll see a lot of people saying we’ve waited long enough,” notes McIntosh.

Actually, the two most interesting data points in today’s polls don’t involve Trump (or at least not directly). One is the demise of Carly Fiorina: CNN catches her dropping from 15 percent last month to just four percent now. (Monmouth has her at six percent.) That’s right in line with the rest of her polling this month, which has topped out at seven percent. What happened to Carly? The most convincing theory is that she’s simply been suffocated in the media by 24/7 Trumpalooza and Ben Carson’s controversy o’ the week. The good news for Fiorina fans is that there’s another debate next week; the bad news is that there’s no reason to think the aftermath of that one will be different from this one.

The other interesting data point? Bush 2016 is starting to reek.


Trump’s favorable rating, by comparison, is 52/33. Ted Cruz, whom Dubya dislikes, fares far better than his brother at 50/23. In fact, apart from one PPP survey that put him at 10 percent, it’s been a solid month since Jeb was above eight percent in any poll. Monmouth has him at … five percent today. Not only has he trailed Rubio in four of the last five polls, he’s also trailed Cruz. If the next debate isn’t a gamechanger for him, what reason is there to think the Bush resurgence is coming? Ads can only do so much.