Donald Trump is now the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president, at least according to the polls. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds him leading the field with 17 percent support among polled potential voters, 3 points ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. This follows an Economist/YouGov poll last week showing Trump ahead of the pack with 15 percent support.

Trump's sudden ascendance has prompted a spate of columns claiming that Trump can win the Republican nomination, and perhaps even the presidency.

Much more likely is that Trump will end up like other summer-before-the-primaries front-runners such as Michele Bachmann, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Jesse Jackson. Each led his or her respective party's nomination contests at this point in previous campaigns, and each ended up losing badly.

A mid-July 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found Congresswoman Bachmann leading the Republican field with 21 percent support. She would go on to win the August 13 Iowa Straw Poll before her campaign imploded. Bachmann withdrew from the race on Jan. 4, 2012, after placing 6th in the Iowa caucuses.

According to a June 2007 Rasmussen poll, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson held a small lead among Republican presidential aspirants with 28 percent support. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in second place with 27 percent. A Gallup poll also had Thompson and Giuliani in the top two spots (though in reverse order) in a nomination contest eventually won by Sen. John McCain. The most serious rivals to McCain, by the time of the primaries, were neither of those men, but rather Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

In June 2003, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman outpolled the pack of Democratic hopefuls. Twenty percent of Democrats supported the Connecticut senator and former vice presidential nominee for their party's 2004 presidential nomination. Fifteen percent supported Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt. The eventual nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, garnered 13 percent of the vote.

In August 1991, polls showed that the two top Democratic presidential candidates were New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who would eventually win his party's nomination, was polling at only 5 percent.

In June 1987, Jesse Jackson sat in first place with 18 percent support among Democrats, 7 points ahead of eventual winner Michael Dukakis.

The upshot is that a lot can happen between this point in the election cycle and the point when the first ballots are cast in six months, and when the final votes are counted in 16 months. Donald Trump's strong polling likely reflects his nearly universal name recognition and the attention he's received for his incendiary comments regarding President Obama and illegal immigrants. But other polls have found that most Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, suggesting that his ceiling of support even among conservatives is low.

Given historical precedent, Trump may want to enjoy his moment on top while he can.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner