Trump is the favorite to be the Republican nominee. Period.

1. Donald Trump: Trump has had a very good last few weeks. He continues to hone his pitch on the stump and has clearly thrown Cruz off with the eligibility attack. Say what you will about her decidedly unusual speech endorsing Trump, but Sarah Palin remains a potent force (and surrogate) among social conservative and tea party types. Trump has pulled back into a tie with Cruz in Iowa, has extended his lead over the rest of the field in New Hampshire and leads in virtually every state that follows those two. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, look out: He’ll almost certainly be the Republican standard-bearer. (Previous ranking: 3)