We live in a poll-obsessed time. We have a Republican presidential candidate who has vested more in his standing in the polls than any candidate in the history of the Republic, and a media that seemingly takes its every cue from the polls, with a particular emphasis on the national polls. I confess to being as fascinated with the polls as anyone, but at times they have seemed to be the only thing that matters in the political conversation, even though before Monday no one had actually voted and what happens in the early states affects the national numbers.
We have gotten the first indication of that post-Iowa, with Donald Trump dipping down into basically a three-way tie with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in a new PPP national poll. (Rubio leads Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head 53–40, by the way.) This is all the more notable given that as of about two weeks ago some smart people were arguing that Trump was unstoppable, in large part based on his poll numbers. Of course, New Hampshire looms and can shuffle the deck again.