A recent Economist/YouGov poll reveals that over 1/4th of Donald Trump’s and Ben Carson’s supporters would shift to Ted Cruz should they fall out of the Presidential race. This not only reflects what the Cruz campaign has hoped and what political pundits have been saying for a while. It represents the reality of a GOP race that is leaning heavily towards disruptive candidates over Republican Establishment candidates.
Cruz would get 27% of the fallout votes, followed at a distant second by Marco Rubio at 15%. Carly Fiorina, the other candidate with no political experience, was third with 12%.
Rubio, the recent adoption by the Republican Establishment as their poster boy ever since Jeb Bush failed to inspire support, is further hit in the gut by something that most pundits weren’t expecting. In a head-to-head matchup against Trump, Rubio would lose by 14%. This goes against conventional wisdom in a race that has been anything but conventional.
For Cruz, the other piece of good news is that he and Carson led the field of being the second choice with 11% and 12% respectively. Trump was below Rubio and even Bush with 7%.
All of this means two things: Trump is in the lead but may not be in control while Cruz and Rubio are primed to be the last two men standing when the race heats up into April and May. If the Republican Establishment can batter their way to forcing another one of their candidates to the top, we will see Rubio as the likely winner. If the disgust from the base towards the Republican Establishment continues, Cruz will be the nominee.