from Erick Erickson:
The sharp and rapid rise of Carly Fiorina is, for me at least, another indicator that polling right now is volatile and flawed. I actually think if primary season started tomorrow, we’d find the last men standing would be Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, with Cruz having a slight advantage — for now at least.
Polling has been largely wrong since 2010 and has been increasingly wrong after 2014. From showing many races in this country as too close to call to even missing the Tory blowout in Britain, something is wrong methodologically with polling. Likewise, the sharp spikes and declines, also too easy to predict, are too easily caught in flash polling. It does not make a lot of sense.
What does make sense and I think what remains are traditional campaign outlooks. I think Trump will fade, Fiorina will fade, and Carson is already fading. They are doing so because their momentum is based more on name identification and not on records or ground games.
If we look at traditional campaign data, which under the smoke and veneer of Campaign 2016 still matters, what we will find is that Ted Cruz is laying down a hell of a ground game and has tons of cash with not nearly the burn rate that even Jeb Bush has. Cruz stands to profit the most from the collapse of Carson, Fiorina, and Trump — all of whom are playing on the outsider advantages right now. Those advantages will start to go away as more traditional and necessary campaign tactics and strategies kick in like, for example, ballot access.