Look at the Real Clear Politics polling average. The candidates who are perceived to be “not of Washington” are Trump, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Fiorina, Paul, Perry, Jindal, and (arguably) Walker.
Some of them may be “of Washington,” but they have pretty legitimate outsider, non-establishment bona fides. Add up their polling total in the average and we get 61.4% of the vote. In other words, right now 61.4% of the vote is with the anti-establishment crowd.
In six days, Donald Trump’s polling has declined two percent in the polling average with Cruz and Carson both going up just over one percentage point each.
Look in the bank accounts of the candidates and their Super PACs and you will also find that Cruz has been raising more small dollar donations than the other candidates. Individually and combined with Super PAC money, Cruz has the most money outside of Jeb Bush.
My theory is that Donald Trump will start to decline in popularity as we get closer to people having to cast an actual vote for someone they view as Presidential. The people with Trump right now are looking around for someone and the guy sitting in pole position for these voters is Ted Cruz.
Cruz has a very plausible path to the nomination.
Consider as well the electoral map. Normally we have Iowa then New Hampshire then South Carolina then Florida then clusters of states.
This time we will have Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, then most of the southern states including Georgia and Texas before Florida.
Cruz, having horded his money and spent it wisely thus far, has the ability to bounce from Iowa into South Carolina doing well, then fan out across the South. There’s a reason he took a swing through southern states after the RedState Gathering. Cruz knows his path to victory lies through the south and the election calendar puts Southern states in play for the first time in a very long time.
We are still several months from the first votes being cast. But right now it is Ted Cruz’s time and he has a team of people who know what is at stake.