For those despairing at the possibility of a massive spike in the federal hairspray budget or those planning the classiest, most luxurious inauguration parties for incoming President Donald Trump, a note of caution: Trump's position in polling is the same as was Rudy Giuliani's in July 2007. His recent surge is much like the surge Rick Perry saw at this point in 2011. Neither Giuliani or Perry became president. Neither won his party's nomination.
Neither won a single delegate.
This is what the 2016 field has looked like so far this year, according to Real Clear Politics polling averages. Bush has been pretty steady at the top. Walker rose to match him. Trump came on late and strong.
Compare that with the 2008 election. At this point in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was slipping downward in the polls -- but so was eventual nominee John McCain. McCain, in fact, had slipped below another TV star-politician, Fred Thompson. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was holding steady.
And compare with 2011. Romney led, but Perry emerged late and had the momentum. By the end of August, he'd pass Romney; by mid-September, he led by 12 points.
If you compare July poll positions to the actual percentage of delegates won, there's an obvious disconnect. Romney led in 2011 and got the most delegates, but Santorum got the second-most, and he was way back in the pack. In 2008, everything was upside down.
There is no reason to think that this election cycle won't be similarly topsy-turvy. Donald Trump looks a lot more like Fred Thompson or Rick Perry (c. 2011) than he does Mitt Romney or John McCain. Meaning that in four years, I will probably get to use him as another example of why July polling is not a good predictor.