There's still time for the race for the Republican nomination to change, but as early January gives way to mid-January, some observations are starting to look more reliable.
For example, Donald Trump is well positioned to win the New Hampshire primary. The latest Monmouth poll was released yesterday:
1. Donald Trump: 32% (up from 26% in a Monmouth poll in November)
2. Ted Cruz: 14% (up from 9%)
2. John Kasich: 14% (up from 11%)
4. Marco Rubio: 12% (down from 13%)
5. Chris Christie: 8% (up from 5%)
The remaining candidates are each at 5% or lower, including Jeb Bush, who, at least in this poll, is in seventh place with just 4%. Trump's 32%, meanwhile, is the strongest support any candidate has seen in any Monmouth New Hampshire poll so far this entire campaign cycle.
Of course, the usual caveats apply: it's just one of many polls. In fact, most recent surveys in the Granite State show Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, Christie, and Bush nearly tied for second place, which puts Monmouth slightly out of step with most of the recent data. That doesn't mean it's wrong; it's just something to consider.
Also note, Cruz fared very well as the top "second choice" in this poll, while Rubio is fading slightly. A fourth place finish for the Floridian would be a real problem for his campaign going forward.
Regardless, Trump's dominance in the first primary -- to be held four weeks from today -- is hard to miss. Will he fare as well in the first caucus?
Quinnipiac released this poll of Iowa Republicans yesterday:
1. Donald Trump: 31% (up from 25% in a Quinnipiac poll in November)
2. Ted Cruz: 29% (up from 23%)
3. Marco Rubio: 13% (unchanged)
4. Ben Carson: 7% (down from 18%)
The remaining candidates are each at 4% or lower in this poll.
Trump's 31% is the strongest support any candidate has seen in any Quinnipiac Iowa poll so far this entire campaign cycle. Also note, despite the enormous size of the GOP field, Trump and Cruz, at least in this poll, now combine for 60% of the vote among Iowa Republicans.
If a candidate representing the Republican establishment is poised to break through, there's no real evidence of it yet.