Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Primary Results from the Sunshine State

The Drudge Report is giving McCain an ever so slight edge via the Florida exit polls. Say what you will about Drudge, but he was calling the battleground states with surprising accuracy during the 2004 election.

The numbers from those polls:
McCain 34.3%
Romney 32.6
Giuliani 15.3
Huckabee 12
*These are not raw numbers from the actual primary. They are exit poll numbers. Keep in mind that absentee and early voting has reached new heights in Florida during the lead up to today.

The press is showing some surprising restraint (at least in my eyes) in not really saying a whole lot about the Democratic race thus far. Despite there being no delegates at stake in Florida for the Democrats, turnout has been high. Of course, as Rob rightly points out in the comments section below, there was a tax initiative on the ballot that motivated a lot people to turnout today.

7:31pm: Early results are in. Reports of a tight race between McCain and Romney were right on the mark.
McCain 30.2
Romney 30.0
Giuliani 17.4
Huckabee 15.5

For the Democrats, Clinton is enjoying a margin similar to what Obama had over her in South Carolina last weekend.
Clinton 53.5%
Obama 26.1
Edwards 16.5

I should also add that exit polls are showing that the economy was viewed (see first post at botton) by over half of Democrats and by nearly half of all Republican primary voters are the biggest issue.

9:21pm: With 57% in on the GOP side, McCain has a four point lead.
McCain 35.4%
Romney 31.4
Giuliani 15.0
Huckabee 13.3
For the Dems, Clinton is still up by around 20 points. Is there anyway that if Obama sneaks to within 15 points or less (not really all that likely) of the lead, that he can claim some small measure of victory? I'd lean toward no, but what are other people's thoughts?

A couple of other things:
CBS Evening News on their broadcast tonight had a striking figure concerning the number of ads McCain and Romney have run so far. Romney had a nearly 10-1 edge with 4000 some ads run to McCain's 470 or so. Predictably CBS replaced their pre-Florida results segment with post-Florida coverage on their online version of the news. The Fix made mention of the same statistic adding even more information (saying that that was just in Florida). See the fourth bullet point down for that. The Times also has a piece discussing McCain's spending lately. That may explain the shortness of cash in his coffers.

Well, as of 9:37pm
, the conservative New York Times (at least when it comes to calling winners of these things and counting delegates) has called the GOP race for McCain. That should certainly help financially heading into the smörgåsbord of primaries and caucuses next Tuesday.

Here are the final results from Florida:
McCain 36.0%
Romney 31.1
Giuliani 14.6
Huckabee 13.5

Clinton 49.7%
Obama 33.0
Edwards 14.4


Dave Damore said...

So the question I have is who is the genius advising Giuliani? If you are going to stake your entire campaign on a single state, you should be sure that you are going to win it.

Josh Putnam said...

And a good question it is. History (at least recent history) tells us that skipping early events isn't a winning strategy. Gore's 1988 strategy came the closest to working. Ir could be argued that that was more a function of the Southern Super Tuesday that year

When does skipping work? When everyone cedes victory to one candidate. See Harkin in Iowa in 1992. McCain made it interesting as the alternative to Bush in 2000 after skipping Iowa. Skipping Iowa is one thing, but skipping the first six contests is quite another.

What hurt Giuliani most was the string of fifth and sixth place finishes in the early states. I know he didn't compete but still, you'd have to hope that name recognition gets you a little higher.

His New Hampshire strategy was curious. He was somewhat competitive in the polls there in the fall, but his effort to infuse his campaign there with some cash was too little too late.

Thanks for stopping by Dave.

Robert said...

Two things did in Rudy. First the Biden statement about him being nothing but 911. He never found his voice after that. Also, he seemed to lose interest in the race after his mysterious illness in Nebraska. When the campaign is chronicled we will hear more about that illness.

Obama came within about 17%, not the 15% that he needed to meet Josh's standard, but close enough to blunt claims by the Clinton campaign. Of the Democrats who decided in the last week the break was 35% Obama, 35% Clinton and 25% Edwards. It will be interesting to see if the Clinton win in Florida or the movement toward a tie in support in recent days will be the more significant effect going in to Tsunami Tuesday.

One last note, the idea that Florida Democrats flocked to the polls when nothing was at stake is a misstatement. There were two very critical ballot initiatives -- one on proerty taxes and one on hurricane relief. I received an email urging me to vote Yes on Initiative 1. There was plenty of incentive for Florida Democrats to vote in addition to the Presidential contest.

Josh said...

That's a great point, Rob. Labor was really activated to get out to the polls on that initiative. I guess I read too much from Howard Wolfson yesterday. Ah, the Clinton spin. It got me.

I was interested in how the media was going to play the Florida contest on the Democratic side and I remain curious as to how the results will be played between now and next Tuesday.

My suggestion is that we all start counting delegates because that'll be what the four remaining (viable) campaigns will be doing next Tuesday night.

Rich Clark said...

On Giuliani's strategy ... while he was bucking against history, this whole primary season has little historical precedence. Never have we seen the caucuses and primaries so early and so condenced. If someone was going to try the ahistorical approach, skipping the early voters, this was the year for it.

That being said, the Giuliani campaign simply did a miserable job of it. I agree with Rob that he lost his voice and his message. And the last moment attempt to be the alternative to bickering Romney and McCain appeared just as it was, pathetic.

Now with Edwards leaving the race, where does his support go? In tight races, it can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Robert said...

Thanks, Rich, I learned form you about Edwards. Boy am I out of date! I agree that Rudy could have made something out of Florida. The problem was with the candidate and the campaign and not the overall strategy. Also, think what the race would be like if Huckabee had won in SC.

Josh Putnam said...

I can buy the bucking history angle generally, but Giuliani's campaign has been trending downward for a while now. Everything played the right way for that strategy to work, but Giuliani's slide had more of say in the matter. He didn't (or couldn't) hold up his end of the bargain.