I’m curious if the current GOP mania with outsider, anti-establishment candidates is just a temporarily blip that will correct itself. After all, the 2012 Primaries had Santorum, Cain, and Bachman all temporarily leading in the polls. 2008 had Huckabee and Ron Paul, each of whom had some success.
So I downloaded all GOP National Primary polling data from the last three elections, and grouped all the candidates into two camps: “Establishment” and “Anti-Establishment.”
Establishment Candidates: McCain, Romney, Guilianni, Fred Thompson
Anti-Establishment: Huckabee, Ron Paul
Establishment: Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman
Anti: Santorum, Bachmann, Cain, Ron Paul
Establishment: Bush, Rubio, Walker, Fiorina, Kasich, Christie, Jindal, Graham, Pataki
Anti: TRUMP!, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Rand Paul, Santorum
If you include Fiorina in the anti-establishment camp, then the trend is even more pronounced.
While it’s still more likely than not that the establishment will get their way, after looking at this graph, this election cycle really does seem different. The long term trends over the past 9 years show a steady decline in establishment support, which matches up with what we’re witnessing in Congress and the overall difficulty the GOP has had in controlling the Tea Party.