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Live Blog: The Florida Primary

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Smart Politics will continue to monitor and update the official Florida primary results tonight. The following updated percentages are based on raw vote numbers provided by reporting precincts, not a scientific random sample.

6:15 p.m. As is customary in recent years, the media is releasing selected exit poll data prior to all the poll closings in Florida, but not the horserace numbers. According to MSNBC, 47 percent of GOP voters said the most important issue was the economy, with just 19 percent saying terrorism.

6:19 p.m. (0 percent reporting)
McCain = 29%
Romney = 28%
Giuliani = 18%
Huckabee = 18%
Thompson = 4%
Paul = 3%

6:25 p.m. The media is starting to write Rudy Giuliani's political obituary tonight, with one commentator on MSNBC calling his Florida 'strategy' perhaps the "Worst in the history of presidential politics." The media is fairly confident Giuliani will drop out of the race in the next day or two to "prevent further embarassment."

6:30 p.m. (1 percent reporting)
McCain = 30%
Romney = 30%
Giuliani = 18%
Huckabee = 16%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 3%

6:35 p.m. (3 percent reporting)
McCain = 31%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 18%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 3%

6:42 p.m. In the last day a few polls were released in Super Tuesday states. As expected, Romney continues to lead big in Colorado, 43 to 24 percent over John McCain (Denver Post). In a SurveyUSA poll of GOP voters in California, McCain led Romney 37 to 25 percent.

6:45 p.m. (9 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 30%
Giuliani = 18%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

6:48 p.m. Former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough and former Republican Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, both MSNBC commentators, are each coloring their commentary with pro-Romney messages, and have for most of the past week or two. Buchanan's sister Bay is a high ranking official in the Romney campaign. Scarborough has criticized McCain's tactic during the last few days of "lying about Romney's record" regarding the Iraq war.

6:52 p.m. (12 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 18%
Huckabee = 12%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

7:00 p.m. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have all called the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton (no delegates are at stake in that race).

7:03 p.m. According to a Fox News exit poll, Romney led among evangelicals, 34 percent to 28 percent for both Huckabee and McCain. McCain, however, led among those who thought the economy was the most important issue, 38 to 34 percent over Romney.

7:05 p.m. (20 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 17%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

7:09 p.m. (24 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 16%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

7:10 p.m. CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin is also now calling Giuliani's campaign the "Worst of this millenium and perhaps the worst of the last millenium."

7:12 p.m. (28 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 33%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

7:12 p.m. CNN analysts have stated that McCain will roll through Super Tuesday if he wins Florida tonight because he is "already leading virtually every state." Not quite true - McCain is likely to lose Utah, Massachusetts, Colorado, Arkansas, and perhaps Montana and Georgia. That said, McCain would be on track to win at least two-thirds to three-fourths of the states. A Romney win tonight, as outlined in Smart Politics' January 27th entry, would significantly complicate McCain's strategy.

7:18 p.m. (30 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 33%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

7:24 p.m. (33 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 16%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

7:27 p.m. In what might be a good sign for Barack Obama's campaign to be able to compete with Hillary Clinton in the Northeast, a new poll in Connecticut was released today by Rasmussen which shows the race deadlocked 40 percent a piece, with John Edwards at 11 percent. Obama's support has steadily increased in recent months - a Quinnipiac poll in October found Obama at 16 percent, a Quinnipiac poll in November found Obama at 19 percent, and a mid-January Hartford Courant poll found Obama at 27 percent. The endorsement by the Kennedy family on Monday may help to strengthen Obama's performance in other Northeastern states.

7:32 p.m. Showing his true colors, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough just remarked, "I don't give a damn what happens tonight, John McCain will not get the support of conservatives in the fall."

7:35 p.m. (37 percent reporting)
McCain = 34%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 16%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

7:42 p.m. Although the GOP race is still officially 'too close to call,' McCain can be feeling good about his chances tonight. In all the GOP primaries and caucuses, although the early returns are not a scientific sample of the statewide vote, the leader of the early returns has gone on to win the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina.

7:48 p.m. (44 percent reporting)
McCain = 35%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 16%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

7:55 p.m. Mike Huckabee is speaking to his supporters at a rally in St. Louis. Huckabee states he is going to play "All nine innings" of the game. Huckabee is banking on performing very well in Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, and his home state of Arkansas on Super Tuesday to remain a viable candidate in the race for president. Huckabee states he will be on the stage in California at the GOP debate tomorrow night, hinting that Rudy Giuliani might not be there.

8:00 p.m. (47 percent reporting)
McCain = 35%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

8:05 p.m. MSNBC's Hardball anchor Chris Matthews just characterized Mitt Romney's success to date in the GOP race as a result of his "Good looks, good charm, and good breeding."

8:09 p.m. (51 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 2%

8:11 p.m. The Associated Press and Fox News have just called the race for John McCain.

8:12 p.m. CNN now projects McCain to be the winner tonight.

8:16 p.m. (57 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

8:17 p.m. And now NBC News calls the race for McCain.

8:21 p.m. Rudy Giuliani is addressing his supporters in Florida. He is speaking in the past tense about his campaign, so it appears an exit from the race will be coming soon. Giuliani is polling nearly 20 points behind McCain in his home state of New York according to a survey released yesterday by Quinnipiac.

8:27 p.m. (62 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 32%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 13%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

8:31 p.m. The question emerging from McCain's big win tonight is to what extent he is able to build his support in "Huckabee territory." If McCain wins the Huckabee states, plus the Northeastern states, plus Illinois and California, he will win the nomination. If Huckabee holds serve in the southern and Bible belt states, and Romney holds serve in the Mountain states, that might buy the former Arkansas and Massachusetts governors more time to remain in the presidential nomination process.

8:35 p.m. Mitt Romney is speaking to his supporters, and offers the following jab at his chief rival, John McCain: "We're not going to change Washington by sending people back just to sit in different chairs."

8:50 p.m. (73 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

8:54 p.m. NBC News reports that Giuliani will endorse McCain in California on Wednesday.

9:18 p.m. (80 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

9:30 p.m. It is unlikely he will choose to reveal his fundraising revenue before the end of the quarter, but another key factor for McCain to seal up the nomination will obviously be how much money he can raise to help seal the deal and start preparing for the general election. However, unlike Mike Huckabee (who is also not well-funded), McCain has had a long-standing high name recognition throughout the country (for better or worse among the GOP base). In open (democrats + independents) or semi-open (Independents) contests to come, McCain will be at a strong advantage over the remainder of the GOP field, especially with Giuliani out of the race. One last side note: at what point will Ron Paul decide whether or not he launches a third party candidacy? Paul is still actively campaigning, running media buys in Minnesota this week.

9:34 p.m. (82 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

9:45 p.m. (91 percent reporting)
McCain = 36%
Romney = 31%
Giuliani = 15%
Huckabee = 14%
Paul = 3%
Thompson = 1%

9:47 p.m. On Friday the Republicans will hold their caucus in Maine. Smart Poltiics will blog live next Tuesday night for the Super Tuesday contests.

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1 Comment


  • The spotlight has swung back to McCain's preaching friends, with renewed interest in Rod Parsley. CarpetBagger's Steve Benen says that this matters much more than Jeremiah Wright. Matthew Yglesias points out that Parsley's anti-Muslim comments are too mainstream to be a problem for McCain. Kyle Moore, posting Comments From Left Field, takes a long look at Parsley and imagines what John McCain circa 2000 would have said about him.
    -----------------------
    johnsmith

    Florida Treatment Centers

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

    The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

    Political Crumbs

    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    Home Field Advantage?

    When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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