Interesting piece here on polling internals — Cruz is now perfectly positioned to draw Trump’s supporters if he can win in Iowa.

Cruz has looked like the de facto frontrunner for a while now — as the article implies and Nate Silver has noted repeatedly, national polling isn’t predictive until after the first primaries, which it usually aligns to.  And this graph has doubtless already been the target of enough of  “Cruz missile” lines to wipe out out ISIS.

The last debate was primarily between him and Rubio, the other plausible candidate, plus The Trump Show.  Cruz’s  use of the term “carpet bombing” was imprecise and gained him some mostly inane criticism (it was a rhetorical flourish, he explained he meant targeted bombing, and obviously Cruz wasn’t proposing to make the sand glow in the dark as a serious military policy either), but overall Cruz looked very composed, while Rubio seemed a little flustered all night.  Maybe that’s Rubio’s thing, earnest and flustered, but Cruz was just so solid by contrast that he seemed the clear winner.

Most conservatives could live with Rubio, and, eyeing Trump, the GOP establishment will eventually manage force Cruz down their craw if they can’t have Rubio.  This is still a winnable election for Rubio, who would be a good candidate for the GOP, but maybe his election cycle is down the road.

I’m still not sure Trump is really running for President, but he was fun the other night.  “He’s fine.  You don’t have to worry about him.”   Moderator: “Ooooooooooookay…”