“My sense at the present time that the Speaker doesn’t have the support of the conference,” says South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan about John Boehner. Another member of the House privately estimates that 40 Republican lawmakers would vote against Boehner on the floor and says “I’ve seen a running total.”

“Believe me, they’re not going to go through the national embarrassment — all of the cameras are on the floor — they’re not going to go through that. A leader will emerge before that happens,” the source adds.

The discussions behind closed doors, which have picked up dramatically in past months, are still at the early stages, and it’s not clear whether Boehner will even come back. There are also still nine months left in 2014 – an eternity in politics.