Many people didn't think Donald Trump would get this far. A lot of people are saying he won't go any further.
Mr. Trump still holds the lead in most polls, but someone with more traditionally recognized political acumen will win the Republican nomination, say pundits.
"Businessman Donald Trump may be leading in opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination, but bettors say someone else will be nominated next year," wrote Washington correspondent Jonathan Salant for NJ Advance Media. Mr. Salant was referring to British bookmakers.
Thus far, the race has been dominated by "outsiders," as both the Republican and Democratic side have seen thus-far successful candidates without the usual partisan stripes and accolades, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is an independent, is considered by some as the Democratic "outsider."
Ben Carson is another outsider candidate - a doctor who has not held political office - but Trump is the quintessential non-politician candidate. Trump is also the one analysts insist the Republican Party would not actually let take the nomination.
"You had better believe that GOP leaders will do everything in their power, mainly behind the scenes, to ensure that Trump is not their standard-bearer," wrote Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley in the Crystal Ball blog. Turning to Carson's campaign, they added, "Can he be surgeon general in a Republican administration? Sure. But presidential nominee? No."
Trump has capitalized on the movement of disgust with the political status quo, but now other, less "weird and confusing" campaigns have arrived to finish the job, columnist Daniel Henninger wrote for The Wall Street Journal.
"Mr. Trump’s singular personality is simply at odds with the political skills necessary to carry that mood any further than his mere arrival accomplished," Mr. Henninger wrote. "When the primaries arrive early next year, the Trump vote will subdivide further among the other Republican tortoises."
Trump's current success is based largely on his TV success on the show, "The Apprentice," claimed CNN political commentator Daniel Axelrod. He cites an AMG poll among Republicans days after the first Republican debate that asked whether self-identified Republicans watched "The Apprentice" as well as their political opinions - and the show appeared to make a difference.
"Trump's support among "Apprentice" viewers was 38%; among nonviewers, he was at 21%, barely ahead of the pack," Mr. Axelrod wrote.
The CNN analyst says that is no foundation for nomination.
"It doesn't mean Trump will be the Republican nominee or president," he wrote. "His mixed overall ratings among Republicans suggest that there is a cap on his poll numbers, which generally have stalled or diminished since the CNN debate at the Reagan Library earlier this month."
Pollster James Zogby says that who will get the Republican nomination is still in the realm of speculation.
"It's way, way, way too early," he told New Jersey Advance Media. "An informed 'I don't know' is worth just as much as an uninformed 'I don't know.'"