By Amber Phillips
As GOP front-runner Donald Trump has gotten stronger, the Republican establishment has held on to one theory: That he's not a serious candidate. That he'll get bored and drop out. Especially if he loses a state or two.
Their hopes centered on Iowa. Trump is trailing, albeit only slightly, to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the first-in-the-nation contest, which votes three weeks from Monday. If Trump lost that race, would he drop out?
An unequivocal "no," Trump said Saturday.
"I've been number one just about since I joined up, right? June 16th. Amazing. We've had a lot of fun," he told NBC's Chuck Todd in an interview aired on "Meet The Press."
And why should Trump go? asks Fix Boss Chris Cillizza, who annotated Trump's most recent interview with Todd. Trump is in first or second in every state and national poll. A new Quinnipiac University poll actually shows him leading, within the margin of error, among likely Iowa GOP caucus goers, 31 percent to Cruz's 29 percent. Almost every presidential nominee on either side going back to 2000 was in first or second place nationally and in Iowa and New Hampshire at this point in the campaign -- just like Trump is now.
What's more, Trump just keeps looking stronger and more comfortable as a candidate, as Cillizza wrote Monday.
So not only is Trump here to stay, but he also has a really good chance at actually being the Republican nominee.
Your lightbulb graph
And now, even more on Trump's dominance. A slew of new polling in New Hampshire also shows, as The Fix's Philip Bump writes, Trump up high in the second state in the nation to vote for president. Behind him? "A giant plate of spaghetti" vying for second place.
Polls in the last few weeks before the primary are notoriously fickle, but it's fair to say this graph is a microcosm of the entire GOP presidential race so far.