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Florida Exit Polls

Topics: 2008 , Associated Press , Barack Obama , CBS , CNN , Exit Polls , Hillary Clinton , John McCain , Mark Lindeman , MSNBC , The 2008 Race

I'm doing updates blog style -- Find links to the exit poll tabulations at the bottom of this post. All times Eastern.

8:40: I'm off to help get my two pre-schoolers to bed. I leave you in the capable hands of Mark Lindeman (in the comments section). But please keep in mind that in the exit poll tabulations, margins of a few percentage points are statistically meaningless. So a 2-4 point "lead" is not really a lead. The Republican race will be called using actual returns.

8:24 p.m. More from Lindeman:

They did a quick reweight, perhaps with early votes and/or turnout. McCain up 32.6-31.4 or 33.0-31.2 depending on how I look at it.

Mark likes to be precise, but let's keep in mind that the decimals are meaningless, and the Romney-McCain margin in the sample estimate falls well, well within the statistical "margin of error" for an exit poll. The networks will almost certainly need to wait until all (or nearly all) voters are counted before calling a winner.

8:09 pm - Regular pollster commenter Mark Lindeman has posted the current overall estimates extrapolated from the current tabulations in our comments section:

Right now it's Romney by a nose, maybe 32.2-31.6 depending on how I estimate. Clinton 50-32, Obama with 76% of the black vote.

More explanation here on how these early estimates improve over the course of the evening.

8:05 pm - Wow. The exit poll tabulations are up on MSNBC (see links below). Among Republicans who made up their minds in the last three days: Romney 37, McCain 36. Among those who made up their minds in the last week: Romney 38, McCain 38.

7:47 pm - While I have your attention, good news for regular readers: Earlier today, we added poll pages for the Democratic and Republican contests in nine new February 5 states in addition to the the three we had put up earlier. We will be adding charts in any state with at least 8 polls conducted over the last year, and we will add a page for any state for which we can find public polling. So if you know of a poll that is not included here please email us.

The links to each of the pages are in the sidebar column to the right.

7:22 p.m. - Demographic tabulations from the network exit polls should be available at these links when the all the polls have closed in Florida at 8:00 p.m. eastern time:

Note: Florida's polls close at different times. Quoting reader Daniel T, who reported this succinctly in a comment earlier, polls close at "7pm in the south and 8pm in the north, essentially after 8pm results should start coming in." Since the tabulations have not yet appeared as of this writing (7:15 p.m.) we will presumably see them shortly after all the polls close at 8.

The good news is that since the polls are closing in South Florida, many of the exit poll interviewers are able to report back the actual results for their sampled precincts. The exit pollsters can use that data to check the precinct level poll results against the precinct level count and use the resulting statistics to correct for any observed bias. That means that when we do se tabulations at eight, the estimates will be more reliable than the what the networks analysts were looking at 20 or 30 minutes ago.

The Associated Press (via The Page) has also reported some initial findings, limited for now to the questions on issues and demographics. Also, for those wondering about how the exit polls have handled early and absentee voting, AP reports:

From partial samples of 970 Republican primary voters and 989 Democratic primary voters conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in 40 precincts across Florida on Tuesday. The samples include 235 Republican voters and 294 Democratic voters who voted early or absentee and were surveyed in the past week by telephone.

 

Comments
Mark Lindeman:

It might be fun to remember that back in 2000, when all the networks made the first bad call for Gore, they made it before polls closed in the Panhandle, based in part on early vote counts that they took to support their exit poll model projection. That was a Really Bad Night.

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Mark Lindeman:

Right now it's Romney by a nose, maybe 32.2-31.6 depending on how I estimate. Clinton 50-32, Obama with 76% of the black vote.

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Krassen :

Are we looking at the same data? McCain wins both the male and female vote in the CBS exit poll data from the link above. Why do you say Romney?

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Mark Lindeman:

OK, a quick reweight already posted. McCain by anywhere from 1.4 to 1.9 points. I'm gonna look and see if I can figure out what changed. Likely incorporating early votes that weren't instantly available, and/or relative turnout?

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krassen:

well, McCain is up by more than 2% in both "male" and "female" vote... Unless Romney wins the transsexual vote by a landslide, it will be McCain by >2%...

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Mark Lindeman:

They did a large geo reweight; Miami went from 14% (rounded) to 19%. That's consequential because McCain has a double-digit margin (presently estimated at 40-27) in Miami.

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Mark Lindeman:

At the same time, they moved "Central" from 31-30 Romney to 36-20 Romney. But McCain's edge in Tampa went from 14 points to 21. It's mayhem out there. ;)

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krassen:

Mark, can you tell us where you are following the changes in the exit poll data? The links provided above have not changed the data...

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Mark Lindeman:

krassen, to clarify the above: MSNBC posted data no later than 8:02, but then they posted reweighted data very soon thereafter. So, yeah, we were looking at different data. Part of the fun is seeing how fast they can update.

The Dem reweight was less impressive, but helped Edwards, who went from an apparent 13% to an apparent 15.8% or so. Not that it matters.

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krassen:

CNN called it for McCain, plus potential rumor of Guliani dropping out and endorsing him.
Add this to the fact that every poll for Super Tuesday has McCain (excep Mass.)

Plus, he seem to have a commanding lead in statewide winner-takes-all contests, such as NY, NJ, AZ, CT, while Mass. is proportional.

CA is district-level WTA so it may not be as big a prize as NY, since some districts may go either way. NY, on the other hand is a big chunk of delegates, and if Rudy endorses McCain, it is certain to go for him.

Based on all of the above, I think McCain just won the Republican nomination...

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Mark Lindeman:

Mitt Romney has to be thinking, 'I'm sure I could've beaten McCain by more than 4 points among more-than-weekly church-goers if it weren't for Huckabee.' Not that that group is quite large enough to make the difference by itself.

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nimh:

Mark, thanks for the updates!

Krassen, just a question re your remark that "every poll for Super Tuesday has McCain (excep Mass)", where do you get that from? I've been tabulating polls myself, and I'm seeing two polls out for Georgia this month, for example (Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen), and both have Huckabee in the lead. Two concurrent polls from Missouri about a week ago (Research 2000 and Rasmussen) had McCain and Huckabee in front, respectively, no new polls since that I've seen yet. A fresh new poll out from Tennessee by PPP yesterday has Huckabee in front too.

Continuing on to smaller states, the one poll I've seen out in Colorado in the last week, by Mason-Dixon, had Romney in the lead, while a Rasmussen poll a few days ago had McCain tied with Huckabee in Alabama, with no new poll since that I've seen.

And of course Huckabee can count on Arkansas - last poll I've seen from there was in December, and Huckabee led McCain 59% to 9%.

So it doesnt look to me like McCain has it all in the bag already..

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Can anyone recommend a website that lists the number of Democratic delegates by state and the method by which they are allocated? I saw that CNN has something but I couldn't make heads nor tails of it... I'd prefer a site that includes a lot of explanation.

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Mark Blumenthal:

Ciccina:

You might try the "campaign tracker" page that my National Journal colleagues put together. I believe it is free to non-subscribers (not sure though). Let us know what you think.

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Andrew:

Real Clear Politics has a nice delegate count page as well, state by state:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_delegate_count.html

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krassen:

nymph,
I misspoke. Every poll that I have seen, which includes NY, NJ, CA, IL, CT, AZ, MA.
Of those only MA is for Romney.
However, it is still fair to say that victories in the states where he is ahead pretty much seal mcCain's nomination. nothing that happened tonight would diminish his chances in these state, quite contrary.
Cheers,

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Bill Mitchell:

Anyone else notice the VOTER FRAUD?
HERE ARE THE FACTS:

1. Florida is a CLOSED PRIMARY.
2. Only those REGISTERED REPUBLICAN a month ago were supposed to be allowed to vote.
3. Rush announced yesterday that 'someone' had instructed poll workers to allow INDEPENDENTS to vote REPUBLICAN.
4. This is ILLEGAL.
5. The final turnout was 20% INDEPENDENTS/DEMOCRATS.
6. The final turnout was 28% MODERATES / 11% LIBERALS. This is 8% higher than in SC's "OPEN" PRIMARY.
7. McCain carried the INDEPENDENT/DEMOCRAT votes by 2:1.

People, what we have here is MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD. These results are STATISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for a CLOSED PRIMARY. Someone, I suspect the Governors Office, wa instructing polling places to allow INDEPENDENTS to vote.

This is wrong and we need to call the FLORIDA BOARD OF ELECTIONS to complain.

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Mark Lindeman:

Bill, so help me, I can't decide whether your post is intended to be satirical. It's been a long three-plus years, and I've seen the phrase "STATISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE" waaaaay too many times.

"Rush announced yesterday that 'someone' had instructed poll workers to allow INDEPENDENTS to vote REPUBLICAN." Even if that is true, what does it mean? "Someone"?

The 2004 Florida Democratic primary was also a closed primary, and in the exit poll, 15% of respondents self-identified as independent, and 4% as Republican. The percentages are similar this year, but the "independent" contingent is up to 17% (all subject to rounding and weighting, of course).

Some of these voters may not have been registered as Democrats, but there is no way to tell from the exit poll. The exit poll asks people how they usually think of themselves, not how they are registered.

By the way, South Carolina tends to be more conservative than Florida.

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Dan Matyola:

Rush, and the other extremists, can never accept the fact that a fiscally conservative, social moderate like McCain has more support among Republicans than a fiscally liberal social conservative. There will always be some excuse, some unfairness that they must fabricate.

By pretending that McCain is a liberal, they will only help to elect a real liberal, probably Clinton, in November. They don't seem to care, as long as they have something to vent their anger at and whip their loyal listeners into a frenzy about.

The Republican Party is in real trouble right now. It needs a candidate that can appeal to moderates and independents, if it is to have any hope of winning in November.

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Fred P:

@Dan Matyola

I agree that the Republican party is unlikely to win the Presidency, and that McCain is their likely nominee.

I'm less certain that McCain is the most likely to win the general election; Huckabee, for example, would get more of the religious right out to vote, and Romney would have fewer funding issues.

In any case, to some degree it depends on the Democratic candidate.

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It seems every Republican candidate has a particular achilles heel with regard to the Republican base.

Really simple explanation for self-identified "independents" voting in the GOP primary - they are Republican voters disaffected with the party who didn't bother to change their registration. Did that even need to be said? I'd have thought Rush could find something sturdier upon which to base a conspiracy theory... he must be off his feed or something.

Thank you very much Mark for the tip about National Journal's "campaign tracker." That's the info I wanted, in precisely the format I was hoping for. Like throwing a new chew toy to a Labrador. I'd gotten out of the habit of checking their website since it seemed like so much of their good stuff was subscriber-only.

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Dan Matyola:

The one thing that the polls have been quite consistent on is that McCain runs stronger against both Obama and Hillary than does any other Republican. Rush and others have actually tried to use that against him, arguing that any candidate that draws support from independents and moderates is not a "real" Republican. I guess the only "real" Republicans, in that view, are the losers. I don't want the Republican Party to be a party of losers. If I want to lose in a glorious cause, I will become a Libertarian.

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Krassen:

GOP is going through what the Democrats went in the last 15 years: conflicting issues among their constituents. Tax-cutters and supply-siders are incompatible with fiscal conservatives. Ultra-tough stance on immigration is not favoured by business. Fiscal conservatives don't like uncontrolled war spending. Social conservatives don't square well with secular businessmen...
If you only care about immigration, then McCain seems liberal to you, but so does G.W.Bush. If you care about tax cuts McCain looks liberal to you, but so does Newt Gingrich and the class of 1994 fiscal conservatives...
Democrats dealt with this same things for years: African Americans did not care much about gay rights, unions did not care about the environment, Hispanics did no like the abortion agenda... It seems that now they are coming together while GOP is fracturing.

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