Charles Cook writes at National Journal:
- First, that most of his support comes from candidates already in the race and not from newly inspired voters.
- Second, his campaign drew from both the front-runners and the second-tier candidates and hurt Ted Cruz among the front-runners and Rick Perry among the second-tier candidates the most.
- Third, his support comes from across the full range of Republican identifiers but is slightly higher among those who are less well educated, earn less than $50,000 annually and are slightly older.
- Fourth, Tea Party respondents supported Trump at slightly lower levels than the totals for Cruz and Fiorina but higher than for the rest of the field.
- Fifth, if his candidacy falters or he quits the race, no single candidate benefits in more than the low double digits, and those he hurt the most—Cruz and Perry—probably do not make up their losses, notwithstanding Cruz’s machinations
Clearly, something profound is happening in the usually staid and orderly party. Donald Trump is in first place not only in Iowa and New Hampshire, but in national polling as well, averaging more than a quarter of the vote. Ben Carson, the retired neurologist, is now in second place in Iowa and nationwide, and in a statistical tie in New Hampshire with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a more traditional candidate. That Jeb Bush is averaging single-digit performances in both crucial states and nationally is just as perplexing.
Should we see this as a rebellion against career politicians and the GOP establishment? Or, is roughly 40 percent of the GOP electorate throwing a temper tantrum? The answer is: both.
Not all Republicans are rebels, however. Nationally, almost 60 percent of Republicans are still the philosophical and stylistic descendants of the party that produced Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—the GOP that once approved of Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Even Reagan, not to mention the Bushes, would have trouble meeting the GOP’s new litmus tests.
Among the traditional Republican candidates, the Bush campaign is starting to air television ads—and he had better hope they work. Conventional Republican voters are still window-shopping, but they don’t seem prone to linger before Bush’s window; they just keep moving on. Kasich has shown signs of getting traction, particularly in New Hampshire; he has already outperformed the expectations that his late start would doom his campaign. It was Bush’s poor performance, the Kasich camp explains, that drew the Ohio governor into the race.