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Finally, after the hype, all the analysis and $18 million in commercials (most of it attacking Newt), it's voting day in Florida. So here we are, ready and waiting to see if Floridian seniors will vote for Mitt Romney, whether evangelicals and tea party adherents will show up for Newt Gingrich and whether Boca Raton will vote for Pat Buchanan one last time.

The Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap from last night covered most of yesterday's polling, but one late-breaker in after the post was Public Policy Polling, which came in at Mitt Romney at 39%, Newt Gingrich at 31%, Rick Santorum at 15%, and Ron Paul at 11%. What was interesting for this poll was the consistency:

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.
No sign of a Gingrich surge there, and the final range of polls was pretty remarkable: everything from a 0.38 point Gingrich lead  (Dixie Strategies/The News-Press/First Coast News poll, and do read their explanation of why they might be right!) to Suffolk's "Mitt by 20" (.pdf) and everything in between.

Now, just for fun, and because we have the tools available (thank you, Mark Blumenthal and Charles Franklin!) I redid the polling graph at high [less] sensitivity [settings are reversed] and only for January, excluding no poll:

less sensitivity

Look at those numbers radically chang... oh, wait. Hmmm. Well, it's money well spent on Obama's ad campaign for the fall. But because this includes the sketchy Ipsos internet poll, let's get rid of that, and look at non-internet polls only, where you can really see the ad war effect:

less sensitivity, sans Ipsos

Please don't extrapolate that to the fall, where Obama is well-funded, a known quantity, and where it's as likely as not that Obama will be re-defining Mitt more than the other way around. It's an unknown factor, but assuredly won't follow the pattern of Romney outspending an underfunded and disliked candidate like Gingrich.

Bottom line is where Nate Silver (97% chance Romney wins) and Intrade (98.8%) have the vote going. If that outlier FL poll is right (and don't count on it), this will be an upset of monumental proportion.

But I don't believe we'll be seeing that, and I think we'll all relish stories about the fading tea party being a non-player in a race that mattered more than any so far. That's what happens when you don't have a narrative or a real purpose other than oppose the President. This year's narrative is economic fairness and the 99%, and there's little room for the tea party to join up with that and not reject Republicans. Since they ARE the Republican base, that leaves them on the sidelines, raging against their own establishment, and going nowhere.

I think I'll give over the sum-up to this terrific Thomas DeFrank headline:

Newt Gingrich is toast, but he can still make a mess of Mitt Romney's coronation
Here's hoping he does.

You know, you can substitute "tea party" for "Newt Gingrich" and come to the same conclusion.

Originally posted to Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 05:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 05:33:47 AM PST

  •  pollster avg is 40/32, I'm ok with that--an 8 pt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    illinifan17, Siri, yellowdog

    spread would be far enough from 15 or 20 to read as a weak win by Mittens.  Key to this will be Santorum keeping to no more than 12.  Most of the other higher-spread polls have him higher.  A real Ricky collapse could get it even closer.  

    But I'm good with 8 pts.  Yesterday Newt campaigned with Cain and with Reagan's son, and with a repeated endorsement from Sarah.  He IS the anointed teahadi candidate.  He isn't going anywhere soon...

  •  Mitt wins FL by 5% , so says my tea leaves :-P (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, illinifan17, Matt Z, Aquarius40, Siri

    & based on past 2 PPP polls of mitt at 7% ahead of newt - margin of error since PPP called florida last poll pre vote 14 margin error +-2.5 and it was 12

    7- margin error = 5

    & my tea leaves, never forget the tea leaves


  •  MSNBC: 92% of Fla. ads negative. Wonder if SC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    illinifan17, Matt Z, Siri

    Kennedy realizes what an ass he's made of things by abetting Scalia on CU?

  •  DeathStar Willard pummeling Florida into (7+ / 0-)


  •  remember... polls are just a tool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to get at the underlying narrative.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 06:41:52 AM PST

  •  the PPP and other polls seem to undercount (0+ / 0-)

    the fact that Mitt already won the early voters by 20%+. That can add 4-5% to the final margin of today's vote.

    •  PPP looked at that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cryonaut, Aquarius40, Siri

      and didn't forget ;-)

      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.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:21:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney wins, but (4+ / 0-)

    if it's 5% or less, then it does not really change the race.  If this is Santorum's last gasp, then his support seems more likely to flow to Gingrich.  This is the third time Newt has been pronounced dead, so I am skeptical.

    Of course, I am doing some wishful thinking.  Would anything be more fun to watch than a dead-heat between these two that goes all the way to the convention?

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 06:55:24 AM PST

  •  cold toast always messes up a Tea Party /nt (0+ / 0-)

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:35:04 AM PST

  •  Newt won't be toast, BUT (0+ / 0-)

    After tonight, he'll be a crepe!

  •  Michael Steele says Florida NOT Winner take all. (0+ / 0-)

    On MSNBC a bit ago, Steele was proclaiming that Florida would be penalized for holding its primary too early under rules HE wrote, and that as a result it will be forced to be proportional delegates.

    Will his rule actually be enforced?  I see the chance for serious in-fighting from Romney if it is, and from the Gingrinch if it isn't....

    Yet another belated gift from Michael Steele to the Democrats?

    •  It may be enforced at the convention, but (0+ / 0-)

      I think that the winner take all rule is going to be used by Mitt to show he's inevitable in the months in betweennow and the convention.  I doubt the delegate count is going to be close enough to matter by convention time.

      Newt's not a conservative. It's just that conservatives assume that someone so mean and hateful has to be one of their true believers and not just an awful person.

      by Inland on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:51:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My hunch says Mittens wins by a far (0+ / 0-)

    smaller spread than is being predicted by the MSM talking heads. I'd guess a single digit not a double digit win.

    I understand that Mittens went into FL early marshalling his supporters but anytime I've seen Newt's rallies on tv, they look slightly bigger and certainly more enthusiastic. I mean, way more enthusiastic.

    •  rallies are a terrible way to predict (0+ / 0-)

      otherwise Al Gore would have won outright in 2000.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:53:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gingrich wins even if he loses: (1+ / 0-)

    his career has always been to sell books to and influence the minority of the minority of people who think that he's the cat's pajamas.  So what if a majority of republicans don't want him to be president, boo fucking hoo.  Coming a strong second...or a weak second....sets him up for life.

    Newt's not a conservative. It's just that conservatives assume that someone so mean and hateful has to be one of their true believers and not just an awful person.

    by Inland on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:49:00 AM PST

  •  I get what Paul is doing (0+ / 0-)

    But why is Santorum still in?  Is he just a Romney stalking horse, peeling off support for Newt in exchange for a cabinet post?

    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:49:02 AM PST

  •  The sensitivity is reversed on the website! (0+ / 0-)

    Try it for yourselves. Click 'High sensitivity', and the graph becomes smoother ... then click 'Low sensitivity' and the graph shows more detail.  This is the opposite of what should really occur - from a signal processing perspective, sensitivity should show more high-frequencies, or details! What gives?!?

  •  Even with all the attack ads (0+ / 0-)

    This Florida race might probably actually be a race - were it not for the whole lunatic "moon colony - 51st State" thing.

    Has to be one of the biggest unforced political errors that I've ever seen.

    Effective activism requires Activists -- Effecting radical change demands Radicals

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 07:57:44 AM PST

  •  Isn't today the deadline for all the Super PACs (0+ / 0-)

    to finally submit financial statements disclosing spending, balance & donors? That could be more interesting than tonight's results.  I'm ready either way...

    "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

    by jwinIL14 on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 08:07:08 AM PST

  •  Uh, that's Thomas DEFRANK, not Thomas FRANK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Totally different guy from the author of "What's the matter with Kansas." Might want to correct that.

  •  Why is Santorum's color should be brown (0+ / 0-)
  •  I have a model (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GussieFN, Marcus Graly, DemFromCT

    that predicts final results based on momentum.  It did better than 538 in South Carolina AND Iowa.

    Without boring everyone with the details, what is looks at is movement by comparing the same pollster's results over time, and where movement is found predicting the final by extrapolating the prior movement over the final day (ie using the slope of the line plus an adjustment which is based on linear regression of similar races).  So if a candidate had a 5 point lead 4 days out, and a 10 point 2 days out, you predict the final result based on that line plus allocating the undecided.  

    This model is pretty broken in Florda for two reasons:
    1.  There are a number of pollsters who only took one poll, so I can't compare them to anything recent.
    2.  The polls conflict over direction. One shows a closing race, two others shows a stable race (PPP and ARG, and ARG has been good this cycle.).  Others show a blowout.

    If I apply it to the data set (New Hampshire and Iowa since 1980, key primaries since 1992)  it suggests you take the average of the latest polls and reduce the momentum factor.

    I get Romney 44, Gingrich 31 Santorum 14, Paul 11.  

    There is evidence of movement to Santorum late, but it is not consistent.  

    I am not convinced, however, that Gingrich is going to break 30.

    Insider Advantage has been as good as anyone in this cycle.  I would not be shocked to see this closer.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 08:19:44 AM PST

    •  That "outlier" poll (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that had them neck and neck had some interesting internals, with Newt carrying The Villages and the interior (metro Sebring, if you will) as well as the Panhandle. I really wonder if Mitt's vote in FL is mainly wealthy northern retirees and Cubans - something impossible to duplicate elsewhere.

      •  The Cuban vote (0+ / 0-)

        is in Miami.  

        The polling I have seen shows Romney doing well in the I-4 Corridor and downstate.  It makes sense Gingrich would do well in the panhandle - which isn't all that different that South Carolina.  But theren't many votes in the panhandle - which people out of state don't seem to realize.

        In recent cycles the I-4 corridor has been slipping away from the Democrats.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 08:35:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that (0+ / 0-)

          Romney seems to be doing well in metro Orlando, more so than I'd expected actually.

          I thought metro Jacksonville has lots of Republican votes - isn't that considered Panhandle?

          What kind of surprises me is that I've heard mention of Jewish voters in this race, and I had thought there were very few Jewish Republicans in Florida?

  •  I do have to say... (0+ / 0-)

    .. that however surreal, I have been enjoying, in a kind of sick, watching a train wreck way, the current Republican Celebrity Deathmatch.

    But too true, "You Suck" is NOT a platform to hang a national campaign on, it's a heckle.

    But that was the same bitch I leveled at the House Democrats going into the 2010 elections. Oh, how swift they forget, these fickle posers disguised as our National Leadership.

    What th' heck do I know, I work for a living...

    by SamuraiArtGuy on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 08:48:09 AM PST

  •  Wonder what's up with Rasmussen. (0+ / 0-)

    He's showing remarkably good numbers for Obama and Democrats lately. Today Obama is at 51 percent approval, and Democrats now lead the generic ballot by a point. Weird.

    "Democrats have the heart to care."

    by jeepdad on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 09:28:02 AM PST

  •  Ugh. (0+ / 0-)

    These charts aren't easy on us colorblind folks.

    "Stay Democratic, my friends." -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 10:04:24 AM PST

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