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January 29, 2008

Down To The Wire

Today, Floridians go to the polls in the last major contest before over 20 states hold their presidential primaries and caucuses -- and the race appears to be a true dead heat. Real Clear Politics displays seven polls taken within the last three days, and all of them say that Mitt Romney and John McCain have deadlocked. Of course, the nation has seen deadlocks in Florida before, notoriously in 2000, when the national election came down to 600 votes in one of the most populous states.

Obviously, every vote always counts, but especially so when the race gets this tight. Several factors could affect the outcome, given the small tolerance for failure. Turnout matters, and the nature of turnout will matter there today. Mitt draws more from conservatives, while McCain draws more from moderates. Which will feel more motivated to get to the polls? Which campaign has the better ground game and can get voters to commit?

The other candidates will have an impact as well. Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee trail in all of these polls significantly. Will potential Giuliani and Huckabee voters instead make a decision based on a perceived two-man race, and if they do, who benefits?

My prediction is that the race will break towards Romney. He has the organizational advantage and can do GOTV, as he proved in the caucus states (except Iowa, where Huckabee's populism trumped Romney's organization). I'm not sure I see late-breaking Rudy and Huckabee voters favoring McCain; both, I think, would break more to the right than to the center. I'll predict a 33-30 win for Mitt Romney -- but I wouldn't be too surprised to see that reversed for McCain as well.

UPDATE: I've moved the AOL poll to this post. Don't miss my live blogging of the Florida results later tonight:

[Poll expired.]

UPDATE II: AOL inadvertently left Ron Paul's name off the list. I'm assuming that any votes for "Other" are for Paul. I'll see what I can do to get it added back in.


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» And The Next Winner Is.... from Hard Starboard
....Well, y'see, the outcome of the Florida Republican Primary could be influenced by a few Mcmis-steps over the past couple of days. In addition to John McCain's evidently successful smear of Mitt Romney as an anti-war agitator on Saturday, ... [Read More]

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