The State of the Race in Florida
With the voters of Florida currently making their way to the polls today, here’s a final look at the state of the Florida race.
Early last week it looked like Newt Gingrich had gotten a bump out of his large victory in South Carolina. But since then the momentum in the state has swung strongly to Mitt Romney. Romney now appears heading to a solid victory tonight. All recent polls have him with significant leads and differ only on just how big the lead is.
The Real Clear Politics average of polling in Florida gives Romney a 13 point lead over Newt Gingrich. It has the race Romney 41.8 percent, Gingrich 28.8 percent, Rick Santorum 13 percent and Ron Paul 10.3 percent.
PPP has the latest poll on the race. From PPP:
PPP’s tracking of the Florida Republican primary wraps up with Mitt Romney at 39%, Newt Gingrich at 31%, Rick Santorum at 15%, and Ron Paul at 11%. Our three days of tracking found very little movement in the race: Romney was at 39-40% every day, Gingrich was at 31-32% every day, Santorum was at 14-15% every day, and Paul was at 9-11% every day. […]
One thing Romney did a great job of was getting his voters out early. With the third of the electorate who have already cast their ballots he leads 45-32. That means Gingrich would have to win election day voters by somewhere in the 6-8 point range to pull off the Florida upset, but we find that Romney still has a 36-30 advantage with those are waiting to vote tomorrow.
Given that much of the vote is already in — thanks to early voting and absentee ballots — a huge election day swing is extremely unlikely.
Polls opened at 7 am and close at 7 pm local time. Since part of the Florida pan handle is in central time, the last polls in Florida don’t close until 8 pm eastern. Don’t be surprised if the state is called very quickly this evening.
I should be live blogging the results on the FDL main page tonight. Please leave your predictions in the comments.