Primary Does Not Predict How Florida Will Vote In Nov.


The Republican fight for president has moved to the Sunshine State.

But despite the hype: The primary is no indication of how the state will vote in November.

The reason is Florida’s closed primary system.  Only registered Republicans can vote Jan. 31.

So as big and crowded Miami-Dade and Broward are, they are an afterthought in a GOP primary because they have so many Democrats and independents.

Around 45 percent of Republican voters live in the Tampa-St. Petersburg or Orlando area, the so-called I-4 Corridor.  Only 16 percent live in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, according to research done by renowned Florida political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus.

In the Panhandle, 51 percent of the voters are Republican. Only 27 percent of them are registered with the GOP in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Our area largely the tail on the dog in a primary. That’s not the case in the general election.

Eligible to vote in the closed primary will be approximately 36 percent of the state’s voters who registered Republican, according to figures from the state Division of Election.

Thus, any decision in the primary will be the choice of only about one third of the state’s voters.

Two thirds won’t participate. When they do in general elections, these results are sometimes very close.

That’s why they call Florida a swing state.

In 2010, Gov. Rick Scott beat Democatic nominee Alex Sink by a razor thin margin – 48.9 to 47.7 percent.

In 2008, Barack Obama won the state by 3 percentage points, far from a landslide.

In 2006, Republican Bill McCollum won a seat on the Cabinet as Attorney General in a 6-percentage point win.  On the same ballot, Democrat Sink won the Chief Financial Officer job with a 7-percentage point margin. Swing state.

The presidential race in 2000 was within a few votes, as everybody knows.

Republicans, of course, hope that running against Obama will be like running against President Jimmy Carter in 1980.  That year Ronald Reagan beat Carter in Florida 55.5 to 38.5 percent.

Republicans can only hope.

14 Responses to “Primary Does Not Predict How Florida Will Vote In Nov.”

  1. Huh? says:

    Buddy, you’re losing it.

    Reagan beat Carter in 1980. George Bush beat Al Gore in 2000. What happens with Obama will largely depend on how dissatisfied Democrats are with the man. The feedback I’ve been getting say that Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are toast.

    Losing it?
    I wrote that Reagan beat Carter. I also wrote that Bush was thisclose to Gore in 2000. Without getting into the old argument about Bush v Gore, everybody agrees it could have gone either way in Florida, which is my point.

  2. Huh? says:

    The key to the 2000 race wasn’t Florida at all, and yes, Gore vs. Bush in Florida was a squeaker. Everybody blames Florida’s twisted ballot forms for Bush’s win and Gore’s eventual loss. I say it wasn’t Florida’s fault at all.

    Gore won the popular vote, but lost both Tennessee (his home state) and Arkansas (Clinton’s home state) robbing him of electoral victory. Had he won either, Gore would have won the Presidency.

    I was writing about the races in Florida only.

  3. s only says:

    The good thing about Gingrich winning in S.C. is that next week in Fla. should be/will be a pretty exciting week.
    Wonder who’s gonna get the big crowds…unless, of course, they just use advertising—and that should bring lots of $ into the state, which we badly need.

  4. Fort Lauderdale Voter says:

    Most years Buddy would be right. This year, with Obama certain to lose, the primary choice in Florida is tantamount to picking the president here at least.

  5. Be informed says:

    Fort Lauderdale voters be informed about the “conservative choice” for Mayor

  6. Correction says:

    Buddy, good article. But, as mentioned above, there is an error in the second to last paragraph. Reagan beat Carter in 1980, not 2000.

  7. XxxX says:

    Attention Republicans:
    Newt is the only Reagan Republican in this race. Romney is a Massachusetts liberal

  8. Kevin says:


    I think you might be misreading part of Susan’s stats on the distribution of GOP registrants. Miami-Dade has the single largest number of registered Republicans in the state, and Broward has the second largest number of Republican registered voters out of the 67 counties.

    Of course, relative to Democrats and Independents, the ratio of Republicans to all voters in Broward is really low, but given the sheer number of registered voters in these two counties alone, I guarantee you that none of the candidates who have any money are going to refuse to run ads in the Miami-FTL Media market, even though it is one of the most expensive in the country. The might get more bang for their buck in the Tampa Bay and Orlando/Daytona Beach media markets, but that’s still two very expensive markets.

    Also, you have to remember that lots and lots and lots of conservatives in the central panhandle who routinely vote Republican in November are still registered Democrats and won’t be able to vote on January 31st. Now the same does NOT go for the Western Panhandle and the Jacksonville areas, where most conservatives actually ARE registered with the GOP. But there are still counties in the central panhandle/north central Florida area that voted 80% for McCain in 2008 or Buch in 2004, where over 75% of the voters are STILL registered Democrats (Old South ways die hard in those rural areas).



    Of course, Miami-Dade and Broward have enormous numbers of Republicans. However, money in a primary and appearances are much better spent where larger percentage of voters are Republicans, i.e., the I-4 corridor and North Florida. More bang for the buck. Romney is advertising here because he has lots of money. We’ll see whether Newt has enough money to spend it here in any quantity.

    Using free media and debates, Newt may prove that he can overcome his tremendous disadvantage in funds and organization. Newt’s strategy would really only work, however, in presidential campaigns that draw a lot of attention. Few voters pay attention to other races so closely.

    Yes, there are a lot of Ds in parts of North Florida who vote Republican. But they can’t vote in the primary. (Strangely, these voters sometimes vote for Democrats for local office. A number of sheriff’s remain Democrats.)

  9. Local D says:

    I love how some of these deluded Republicans continue to spread the dogma that Dems are dissatisfied with Obama and that Republicans will win big in November.
    Judging from the unfavorable polling of the Republican candidates and what their party stands for I think some of these people should open the window to their smoke filled room which is clouding their clarity of thought.
    Maybe if Republicans can devise more ways to keep people from casting votes this year they will increase their chances.
    All these Republicans candidates have so much baggage it should be a cake walk.

  10. Jack Shifrel says:

    A couple of points –

    To Huh: First, “What happens with Obama” will depend on how many Democrats turn out, not only to vote for Obama, but against an anti-choice, pro-gun, anti-regulation, anti-Medicare, anti-Social Security, anti-public education, anti-union, right wing conservative Republican candidate. Wishful thinking by right wing conservatives will not make President Obama or Debbie Wasserman Schultz “toast”. Both will win in Broward by huge margins. If President Obama carries Broward by more than 200,000 votes, which he certainly can do, he will be re-elected.

    To s only: Most of the advertising $ will be going to national networks & media outlets. Some will stay local, but not enough to help our economy. Remember, they get the lowest advertising rate posted by the TV & radio stations.

    To Fort Lauderdale voter: Again, wishful thinking will not make it so. With all the Republican candidates trying to prove they are the most right wing conservative, their nominee will not win “the middle”, which is essential for victory.

    To XxxX: Romney may be a Massachusits Liberal to you & other right wingers, but by his own words, he is a “true conservative”, with not nearly the charisma or appeal of Reagan. And while you didn’t mention Gingrich, he has more baggage than Jet Blue.

    The bottom line is that Republicans are counting on doing well in one of the most heavily Democratic counties in America to win a presidential election. Not going to happen!

  11. Kevin says:

    Buddy, my friend,

    I think you just made the same point as I did in your comment on my post! Yeah, if you’ve got the $$$$, you run ads in SF like the Mittron 2300 v 2.3.5, rev(gamma) has been running for several days. If you don’t the attack dogs from your SuperPacs will do so, like we’ll see from Newton Leroy.

    But I think you are right about personal appearances (for what those are worth in a state of 19 million people with 8 days to go before the election).

    And could SOMEONE please tell me why all these candidates feel that it is necessary to campaign at the Coral Springs “Wing Plus”? They all do, like it was some sort of historical site or Saint’s reliquary. WTF (an official political science term) is going on with that? I assume that the people who run Wings Plus in Coral Springs must have some sort of marketing campaign with these GOP candidates….. you would think it were the white-bread Broward version of Versailles’ coffee window in Little Havana!!



    Yes, we made the same points. We generally do.

    For some reason, Wings Plus has become Broward’s Versailles for Republican candidates. Channel 4 — I think it was 4.– made the same point last week. Gingrich will be at Wings Plus on Wednesday. That’s 9880 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs at 10:30 a.m. for those who are interested.

  12. David Larsen says:

    There is only one executive standing in those debates (my perspective), Romney. The question is do people want an executive or for that matter do even know what qualifies as an executive. The presidency is an executive position. Maybe this is what many perceive as condescending. There are certain personality traits of an executive. Taking the RKS value system down into three groups (prioritizing 5 values; the Big 5; maybe you remember) yielded executives, union members and activists. The candidates fall into Romney executive, Gingrich and Santorum as union members and Paul as an activist. They fit. There opening statements layout much of their priorities and values used in the big 5.
    There is only one trickster in the group (like unions and organizers…. Obama) playing a heavy psychological game and that is Gingrich. The ethical violation investigations against Gingrich will hit the fan when he goes one on one with Obama. Gingrich will be labeled a big contributor to crony capitalism. If you want to hit a hot spot with the left get labeled with crony capitalism. I suspect as a career politician Gingrich has a lot more dirty laundry not just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama will claim he is suffering from crony capitalism and can’t be blamed. Although it isn’t a total resolve it did play a major role. In other words he is cleaning up Gingrich’s mess.

  13. GOPapa says:

    Don’t you agree that the $5 million infusion to Newt Gingrich from a rich friend changes the game in Florida?


    I do agree that now Newt Gingrich through a PAC has the money to compete everywhere in Florida, including a vigorous ad campaign in South Florida regardless of the cost.

  14. Jack Shifrel says:

    Re Mr. Larsen’s comments:

    You suspect that, as a career politician, Mr. Gingrich has a lot more dirty laundry than Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, from whom he got $1.6 Million as a “consultant” & “historian”? Are you kidding? Did you miss the $300,000 fine for ethics violations that helped force him to resign in disgrace as Speaker of the House? And if having your wife served with divorce papers while she’s lying in a hospital bed suffering with cancer isn’t dirty laundry, telling your 2nd wife that you want to stay married while you continue the affair you’re having with an aide certainly is. Nobody is cleaning up Gingrichs’ mess, not even Gingrich. He’s too arrogant to believe he has a mess.

    And by the way, Democrats & Liberals have nothing against capitalism. Nor do we have anything against so-called career politicians. Some people, such as Mitt Romney, take advantage of our capitalist system for unfair & excessive personal gain, & some politicians regardless of how long they have served, take advantage of the power & influence available to them. That doesn’t mean all politicians who are dedicated to public service are bad, nor does it mean all successful capitalists are bad. There are bad priests & ministers too. Should we do away with organized religion?

    And by the way, to say Gingrich & Santorum, two of the most anti-union radical right wing conservatives on the planet, are like union members is so far out in la la land, it defies logic.