Looks like turnout down 200k from 2008. Notice that when Romney ties/wins (IA, NH, FL) no turnout surge, when Newt won in SC huge turnout surge. Turnout will be important in November 2012, and while Romney is winning, he’s not motivating new voters to come out. Bad sign so far.
95% reporting – 46.6 – 31.8 – 13.3 – 7
Newt Speech — a campaign speech pure and simple, trying to rally people on what certaily is a disappointing night. “We are going to contest every place.” “People power will defeat mone power.” Losts of lines about running against the establishment. A few shots at Romney, not by name, but implied. Overall a pretty good speech, but the speech of someone behind not a presumptive nominee. Even per people not particularly friendly to Newt it was a very substantive speech, very policy oriented.
Santorum speech — lectures about not attacking others, but spent almost entire time attacking others. Not a good speech.
75% reporting – 46.8 – 31.7 – 13.2 – 6.7
Romney’s victory speech started as a good speech. He didn’t take shots at any other Republicans initially, and spoke to the issue of the competitive primaries making Republicans stronger. That was the right tone. If he ends up as the nominee, he is going to have to heal some very, very serious wounds largely created by the way he ran his campaign. Unfortunately, he did include one shot at others running, saying only he knows how to create jobs. Oh, well, not necessary.
Brit Hume: “He beat Newt Gingrich by bombing him back into the stone age” with negative ads.
66% Reporting — 47-31-13-7
Exit polls have Romney and Gingrich tied in North Florida/Panhandle
CNN says Romney won Tea Party voters 40-38, which is very surprising, lost evangelicals by only a few percent. Romney won big for voters who thought electability was most important.
CNN exit polls show Romney with 46-32 over Gingrich, 12 for Santorum, 8 Paul.
Polls closed everywhere, no surprise, all networks calling it for Romney.
51% counted – Romney 48, Gingrich 31, Santorum 13, Paul 7
With 45% of precincts counted, Romney ahead of Gingrich 49%-30%
The numbers so far include early voting, where Romney won big. So will be interesting to see if 50% take holds up statewide.
It appears Gingrich is doing well in northern Florida, which is a good sign for him Re: Super Tuesday southern states
Current vote totals, with 32% of the precincts reporting: Mitt Romney 50%, Newt Gingrich 29%, Rick Santorum 12%, Ron Paul 7%.
Early results — looking like Romney coming very close to or just over 50%, but that may just reflect more favorable Miami-Dade where he’s getting about 68%.
Exit poll – 40% want another candidate to enter the race.
Allen West is moving districts (not election news, but figured you’d want to know).
The polls in most of Florida close at 7 p.m., in the western part at 8 p.m. The networks are supposed to wait until 8 p.m. to call the race, but calling the race is not expected to be the big issue.
Based on the polls, it would be the equivalent of Krakatoa East of Boca if Newt won, or even if it was close. The spin will be on the margin of Romney’s win.
I’m not sure at what point it becomes a symbolic victory for Newt; the keys will be if Newt and Santorum combined exceed Romney, and how close Romney gets to 50%. Considering that Paul and Santorum pretty much dropped out of Florida, Romney cannot hide behind a crowded field for not reaching 50%.
Also important will be regions, particularly the north and Panhandle, which may reflect Newt’s strength in southern primaries.
I will update results periodically, but not moment by moment unless it’s tight, but really I’ll focus on linking to interesting tidbits.
Also, I note that Fox News is playing an attack ad Santorum is running in Colorado against Newt. Santorum doesn’t get it — he’s playing the same mistake the not-Romneys played in the fall attacking each other rather than Romney.