Donald Trump may still be leading the pack, but Marco Rubio is not far behind.
Rubio has emerged, lately, as the “logical” choice to lead the Republican field, and the general consensus, perhaps worn out on Donald Trump’s “tough love” approach to everything, is following suit. Today, Quinnipiac found that Rubio is now a solid second, with Cruz holding steady at third, Carson sinking back, and Jeb Bush, who has positioned himself as Rubio’s main competition, nowhere to be found.
The archetypical tale of the young grasshopper surpassing his mentor is still playing out between Miami’s two native presidential candidates. Except in this case, the mentor is desperately outspending his protégé — and everyone else for that matter — in a last-ditch effort to remain relevant. And so far, it’s not working.
Marco Rubio has surged into second place in the GOP presidential race, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, released this morning. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, is barely idling above also-ran status with just 5 percent of the vote despite dropping an astounding $26 million on early TV ads.
Of course, both are still way behind Donald Trump, who clocks in the latest survey at 27 percent — a full 10 percent above Rubio, his closest challenger.
I don’t think Rubio is as concerned about Trump as he is about Cruz, running just a point behind. Ten points of Trump is striking distance, especially if Trump’s support, as expected, is built on a foundation of sand and name recognition, likely to dissipate as soon as Trump gets bored with having to explain himself all the time to people he can’t fire. Rubio’s one advantage is, as the Quinnipiac poll demonstrates, that he’s popular among conservatives, people who consider themselves “somewhat conservative,” and the mushy middle, and his support straddles the genders.
Bush is looking worse and worse. A few weeks ago, when the media was signing his death warrant, it wasn’t immediately clear to me that he was finished. After all, even though his campaign had, ostensibly, gone broke, his super PAC was still flush with cash. Now, with millions spent on advertising, it seems like even that doesn’t matter. The poor guy just can’t catch a break. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, though.
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