Carson and Trump do not seem to be going away, which was expected by much of the Republican establishment. Along with Rubio and Cruz, the four lead in the latest poll, which seems to blend the results of the CNBC debate with the continued ascent of Ben Carson.
The post-debate NBC News SurveyMonkey poll showed a very angry Republican electorate, which judged Cruz the overall debate winner with 24 percent, Rubio second at 20 percent, with Carson (15%) and Trump (17%) closely following. Importantly, Trump wins “best at handling the economy” hands down at 41 percent.
Why don’t the bottom tier candidates quit? Three reasons:
- The brief Trump and Carson can’t or won’t win the nomination. They will implode (becoming less likely as time passes) or the polls will show they will destroy the entire ticket and the establishment will revolt (possible).
- Independent money PACs (Citizens United) have given campaigns, even weak ones, enough cash to get to the first few nominating events; i.e., into early March.
- An optimist belief that lightning could strike and an opponent collapses or a debate-type breakout occurs.