Trump! and the Anti-Establishment Lead in Iowa


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I have to admit, I started out from the assumption that Jeb would eventually win the GOP nomination. I’m now having my doubts. I’m definitely doubting an establishment candidate will win the GOP Iowa Caucus after this poll:

A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll finds that Trump, the flamboyant real estate entrepreneur, has 23 percent support here. But Ben Carson, a soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon, has been a submarine, quietly cruising into second with 18 percent, just 5 percentage points from the front-runner.

Carson has the highest favorability rating of the 17 Republican candidates, with 79 percent who view him positively. Only 8 percent have negative feelings about him.

All the other candidates are grinding away in the single digits, in this order: Ted Cruz and Scott Walker (both 8 percent), Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (both 6 percent), Carly Fiorina (5 percent), and Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul (both 4 percent).

“Wow,” said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College. “This poll will have Republican consultants shaking heads in bewilderment. Not since 1992 has anti-establishment sentiment been this strong.”

Bringing up the rear are Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich (all with 2 percent); Rick Perry and Rick Santorum (both 1 percent); and Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki (all with less than 1 percent).

First off, Trump is leading as we approach Labor Day, which is a big deal. He is attracting a portion of the GOP base voter that the GOP tries to deny exists, but they are coming out in force for him. At this point, assume he’s a real candidate.

Beyond him though, i’m beginning to think the GOP will nominate an anti-establishment, ultra-conservative candidate. If you add up Trump, Carson, and Cruz, you get to 49% of the vote. Add on the social conservative candidacies of Huckabee and Santorum, and you have a pure majority for the more conservative elements of this primary. I find it hard for a Bush, Walker, Rubio, Kasich, or Fiorina type of candidacy to consolidate the majority of the primary electorate. The only way for the establishment to win this race is to start narrowing their field- and make sure the anti-establishment candidates don’t do the same.

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