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  Politics and Elections
   2012 Elections - Florida Primaries
Monday, January 30, 2012

Florida Republican primary predictions and results - updated
During the nine days between the Republican primary in South Carolina and tomorrow's Florida Republican primary, we've seen the striking rise and fall of Newt Gingrich.  With Newt's fall, Mitt Romney's nomination has become once again the most likely outcome of this primary season.  I believe the Sunshine State's result tomorrow will be a coronation of sorts for Romney, and my predictions bear that out.
  • Mitt Romney - 45%
  • Newt Gingrich - 33%
  • Rick Santorum - 13%
  • Ron Paul - 9%
The long-sought momentum Romney will finally enjoy after winning Florida will be insurmountable.  Gingrich will continue the fight - as will Ron Paul and possibly Rick Santorum as well - but the outcome will be sure.  It will be Romney to face President Obama in November.

As usual, I'll post an update with a link to the results when it becomes available.

Update:  You can watch the returns come in tonight at the Florida Election Watch website.

Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012  Newt Gingrich  Mitt Romney 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:15pm 01/30/12::
Thursday, January 26, 2012
This is what you call a 'bounce,' part II - Romney back on top
As I reported Monday, polls taken immediately after South Carolina's primary last Saturday showed Newt Gingrich enjoying a substantial bounce in Florida.  He climbed from 20 points down to 9 points up in one poll in a matter of days.  Now, as is the case with a bouncing ball, what goes up can also come down.  Three days removed from that post, Romney has recovered with striking speed.  The latest polls from Rasmussen Reports and Insider Advantage, taken yesterday, put Romney comfortably back in the lead in the Sunshine State.  Attacks on Newt's previous record by Romney and his super PAC are hitting their mark.
In addition to slamming Gingrich on Freddie Mac, Romney has sought to raise questions about Gingrich's tenure as speaker of the House.  He has called on Gingrich to release "all of the records" from the House ethics investigation of him in the 1990s.
Moreover, I'm sure articles like this one aren't helping Newt's cause.  Elliott Abrams, an assistant secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, claims Newt repeatedly insulted the president.
In the increasingly rough Republican campaign, no candidate has wrapped himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan more often than Newt Gingrich.  "I worked with President Reagan to change things in Washington," "we helped defeat the Soviet empire," and "I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress" are typical claims by the former speaker of the House.

The claims are misleading at best.  As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years - and I was an assistant secretary of state - Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism.  Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan's policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong.

Even though I have appreciated much about Gingrich throughout this primary season, I have come to fear his nomination.  Abrams' report depicts a major reason why.  The GOP will not be served well in November, top to bottom, if Gingrich is our top line choice.

Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012  Newt Gingrich 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:24am 01/26/12::
Monday, January 23, 2012
This is what you call a 'bounce' - Gingrich overtakes
Romney in Florida
Rasmussen Reports polled Republican voters in Florida on January 11, 10 days before the South Carolina primaries.  That survey showed Mitt Romney leading the Newt Gingrich by more than 2 to 1 (41% to 19%).  Today, they released another poll taken in the Sunshine State after Gingrich walloped Romney in South Carolina on Saturday.  No longer does Romney hold an overwhelming lead.  In fact, it is now Gingrich who commands a clear advantage, 41%-32%.  That's a swing of 31 points.  And that, my friends, is what you call a bounce.  The striking change serves to highlight the real power of the early primary states - particularly South Carolina.

Sure, not many delegates were at stake in the Palmetto State, but the course of the whole primary election season may have been reversed there this weekend.  Unless something happens to derail the former Speaker for a third time this election cycle, he has to be considered the favorite to win in Florida. And where it had been Romney's nomination to lose just a few days ago, it is now Gingrich, assuming he indeed wins Florida, who will wear the mantle of frontrunner heading into February.

Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:06pm 01/23/12::
Sunday, January 22, 2012
South Carolina results make Florida (and a host of
other states) relevant again
A week ago, fresh off a convincing, if not unexpected, victory in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney's nomination bid looked to be cruising to inevitability.  He had weathered a surprise Iowa showing by Rick Santorum, and polls had him up by double-digit in South Carolina.  Then, a strange thing happened on the way to Dixie.  Newt Gingrich re-emerged as a force.  With momentum going for the former Speaker of the House, Romney's lead in the Palmetto State disappeared.  Even accusations that he asked for an open marriage with his second wife could not slow down Newt's increasingly rapid rise.  By the time the voting started yesterday, Gingrich blew by Romney en route to a remarkable 12.6% victory.

So what does Gingrich's final lap kick in South Carolina mean for the nomination contest?  One thing it doesn't mean is that Romney has lost his chance to be the nominee.  In fact, I believe it would be hard to demote him from frontrunner status.  He still holds the same advantages that prompted me to declare him the winner while he still enjoyed that substantial lead in South Carolina.  Moreover, despite all the hoopla, just 80 of 2,286 delegates have been spoken for.  We still have a lot of voting left to do.

What Gingrich's performance yesterday does do is make Florida's primary on January 31 an important one.  Had Romney won South Carolina, the race would have been over.  As it turned out, the race is still interesting, or, as Newt Gingrich said in his speech last night, "game on!"  Looking beyond the Sunshine State, it's also important to note that even Florida's result won't seal the deal for the winner, regardless who that turns out to be.  We are now looking at a protracted battle for the right to face President Obama.

In February, the game will be played in seven states representing approximately 200 delegates - or just 9% of the total delegates available.  Add to that the fact that, due to Republican Party rules, these February contests will be proportionately allocated, and it's easy to see how we could still be very much undecided when we get to Super Tuesday on March 6.

One thing's for sure, with three very different men looking at possible paths to the nomination (sorry, Ron Paul fans), Republicans are going to have ample time to figure out who they think the best of the lot is.  I just wish the options were more appealing.

Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:10pm 01/22/12::

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