The Republican establishment is running out of time.
It's Dec. 4, 58 days until the Iowa caucuses and voters begin putting their votes where their polls have been for months. Donald Trump has led the field for basically the entire second half of the year -- a lead that continues in a new poll out on Friday from CNN/ORC. Donald Trump hasn't trailed in CNN/ORC polls since June; his support and lead now are the biggest he's seen in their polls yet.
If Donald Trump were suddenly to vanish, the news for the establishment doesn't get much better. In second is Ted Cruz, who's fought the establishment from the inside for years. In third -- and still sinking -- is Ben Carson. The three have the combined support of 2 out of every 3 Republican voters.
That support is pretty even among the groups that were large enough to include in the pollsters' demographic break-outs. There's one remarkable exception: Education level. Trump is much more strongly supported by those with no college degree than he is by those with one. Cruz leads that latter group by three points (over Marco Rubio). Trump leads among those with no degree by 34.
This new poll also helps Trump hit a new high in the average of recent polls. His polling average is the highest it has been since he entered the race, at 30.8 percent. His lead isn't quite at its peak, but it is getting close.
So if you're the establishment, looking at this and wringing your already well-wrung hands, you wonder what's happening -- how this guy could come in from nowhere and steal your party's heart?
One answer is obvious: Republicans have strong opinions about illegal immigration, and Donald Trump -- intentionally or not -- has made that central to his campaign.
In CNN/ORC's poll, more than half of Republicans think undocumented immigrants should be deported -- a far larger percentage than of Democrats or independents. Among Trump supporters, the number hits two-thirds. That's despite the fact that most Republicans don't think deportation is even possible. Which is squarely in Trump's wheelhouse: Anger at a thing but not having a clear way of fixing it.
(Republicans also think deporting illegal immigrants would help the economy; Democrats and independents largely think it would hurt.)
Immigration isn't the thing Republicans are concerned about most, though. The survey still finds that the economy and terrorism are the things Republicans are worried about most (though they're disproportionately worried about immigration).
And on both of those things (and everything else), Trump is seen as the best candidate. The margin by which he leads the second-closest candidate is much smaller on foreign policy than on the economy, but he still leads. (And, for those wondering: He is still seen as the most likely victor by more than half of his party.)
As Trump's support has grown, so to has the extent to which people see him as being able to tackle tough problems. He's seen a big net increase in those who think he's the best bet to handle foreign policy and the Islamic State, as Jeb Bush tanks.
The establishment keeps seeming to hope that Trump will fade as more people start paying attention to the election. Could be! But it is December, and Trump's polling better than ever, literally. If there is a "break glass in case of emergency" solution out there, the Republican Party better start investing in some hammers.