Well everybody and their mother is probably blogging about this, but I thought I would throw my two cents in.
Let me say that I’m getting sick of presidential politics… are you? I was amazed yesterday at how many people were checking out a Florida Primary post I did which was three weeks old – post Iowa Caucus, pre-New Hampshire primary. Probably wasn’t very helpful for the Florida people who were checking it out.
1. John McCain – Was definitely helped by the late endorsements of Flordia Governor Crist and Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL). Pundits are going to spin this a number of ways, but the simple fact is that Senator McCain won a large all-Republican primary. He won the elderly vote, he won the hispanic vote, he won among conservatives, he won the military vote, he won among men, he won among women. When it came to those felt their candidate’s leadership and personal qualities mattered – McCain one hands down. It isn’t like he squeaked out a win he won by five points. He clearly has momentum. He is clearly the front runner, and he now leads in the delegate count with 93. People are resonating with his position on national security, the war on terror and the war in Iraq. He won the vote of people
2. Mitt Romney – effectively pulled out of South Carolina to focus on Florida and his millions earned him another silver as he likes to put it. He won among those who made between $100 K – 200 K. Those who felt that immigration was their top issue (16%) Romney won. The issue that Romney was campaigning on in Florida – the economy (the top issue for Florida voters with 45% saying that was their top concern) – McCain won that segment by 8 percentage points. He also one on the terrorism issue by three points over McCain, but that likely is due to Giuliani support with that issue. Rudy Giuliani won 25% of that vote.
3. Rudy Giuliani – the gamble didn’t pay off. I didn’t think it would. I think ignoring states is never good policy and with McCain leading all of the big states (including his own) that he has a failed strategy and he is making a good decision pulling out of the race. It was an attempt that simply went nowhere and was ill-advised. The fact the highest he came was a third place demonstrates that he never really had a shot at the nomination.
4. Mike Huckabee – South Carolina hurt him badly, lack of money, not expanding his base (only 4% of non-evangelicals voted for him), and having a three-way split with Romney and McCain for the evangelical vote (Romney – 29%, Huckabee – 29%, and McCain – 30%).
5. Ron Paul – I really don’t have anything to say about him. His campaign is what it is.
Exit Poll Source: Fox News
And then there were two… the GOP contest is really between McCain’s momentum and Romney’s money.
When you look at RCP averages you see the following picture:
California (2/5 Primary) McCain – 31.2, Romney – 22.3, Huckabee – 11.5, Giuliani -11.0, Paul – 5.2 (173 delagates at stake)
New York (2/5 Primary) McCain – 31.7, Giuliani – 22.5, Romney – 13.7, Huckabee – 9.8 (101 delegates at stake – winner take all)
New Jersey (2/5 Primary) McCain – 29.0, Giuliani – 26.0, Romney – 11.0, Huckabee – 10.0, Paul – 5.7, Thompson – 6.7 (Delegates at stake – 52)
McCain also leads in Illinois and other Super Tuesday states. Mike Huckabee still looks strong in the south. Romney leads in the intermountain region, but McCain clearly is the frontrunner. In head to head polls McCain is the only GOP candidate leading Clinton and Obama. Huckabee is behind against both, but fairs better than Mitt Romney.
Who knows what will happen, but it is going to be interesting.
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