What do you think?
There are 4 blocs of GOP voters right now. The Venn diagram shows where I think they may overlap.
As you can see, from the polling data, the Establishment is always the largest group though barely so in the national data. But the problem for this bloc is that its support is divided among four candidates leaving an opening for Trump and Cruz. If the Establishment had gotten behind one candidate, the race would still be interesting but there would not be the atmosphere of panic that is starting to set in.
The key is the overlaps in the Venn diagram. Between now and actual voting there could be movement by voters between the respective circles that will determine the outcome of the nomination process. Will the Carson voters eventually move to an establishment candidate? How much movement back-and-forth is there among the voters who are supporting Trump or Cruz? If Cruz turns out to be the anybody but Trump candidate, will the Establishment voters move to him? If one of the Establishment candidates finally breaks above the rest would Carson and Cruz supporters support that candidate?
In addition to voters moving between the circles, there is the possibility of people deciding not to vote at all.
The nomination calendar is front loaded:
February 1 - Iowa
February 9 - New Hampshire
February 20 - South Carolina
February 23 - Nevada
March 1 - the "SEC" primary
Probably after New Hampshire and almost certainly after South Carolina, the Establishment will be faced with the following possibilities:
1. One of the establishment candidates has clearly broken through and it is a 3-candidate race with Trump/Cruz/Establishment going forward.
2. None of the Establishment candidates has broken through and the only alternative is to throw support to Cruz to stop Trump.
3. Cruz stumbles and Trump is marching and the Establishment candidates will need to lock themselves in a room and decide which one of their number will be the one to try to stop Trump.