It’s Election Day in Florida, here’s where shit stands:
The state of the race
Politico’s Mike Allen on where the primary is: The quote of the weekend comes from a story by the Sun-Sentinel’s Anthony Man, who got this gem from the always quotable Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party:
“More than any election I can remember, the issue is, are you voting with your head or with your heart? And you don’t know until you actually pull the trigger,” said Sid Dinerstein ….”Mitt’s the head guy and Newt’s the heart guy.”
Kantar Media’s CMAG estimates 92% of all political TV ads aired in Florida over the past week (Monday to Monday) were negative.
Romney campaign disputes ad-buy estimates and provides figures showing Gingrich has been outspent about 2-to-1 in Florida: “Yes, Romney campaign and SuperPac have spent more, but hardly the margins that they are tossing around.”
The round-up of final polling in the GOP primary is here. The final Reuters poll which came out late last night has it at: Romney 43%, Gingrich 28%, Santorum 12%, Paul 5% http://t.co/gIFtqA56
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver prediction is: Romney 44%, Gingrich 29.3%, Santorum 13.9%, Paul 11.2%. Romney has a 97% chance of winning.
My prediction: Romney 46%, Gingrich 31%, Santorum 13%, Paul 10%.
What’s at stake
Even more than other recent elections – this GOP primary is a contest between the establishment of the party and the grass roots newly active members.
What’s in the Herald and the Times
Adam Smith on Five counties key to Florida presidential results: “Pinellas County … This year, Pinellas should be Romney country, and he was wise to target the Republican-rich north county with a visit Monday. … Seminole County … Romney – remember, he was the conservative in the race four years ago – beat McCain by about 3 percentage points in Seminole, after building a formidable campaign team that includes a host of local elected officials in his corner. That organization should give him a leg up again this year. … Miami-Dade County. This may be the biggest battleground of the primary and also the best example of how Romney has redrawn his Florida map since 2008. …
“More than 70 percent of the Miami-Dade Republican vote is Cuban-American, and four years ago Romney finished well behind both McCain and Rudy Giuliani there. … Duval County … Romney won Duval by more than 13,000 votes in 2008 and still has a formidable organization there. But he’s not Mr. Conservative this time out, and in this territory sometimes known as south Georgia, Gingrich could be surprisingly strong. … Escambia County … is not a natural fit for a patrician Massachusetts politician like Romney. If Gingrich loses Escambia County, it shows he’s in serious trouble statewide.”
What the candidates are up to today
Romney holds a rally at 9:45 in Tampa and then has his election night event at the Tampa Convention Center. Gingrich has an aggressive Election Day schedule with polling stops or office visits in Orlando, Lakeland, Plant City and Celebration. His party is at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. Santorum is in Colorado and Nevada today. Paul is already in Nevada. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will hold an event at a Florida Senior Center in Hollywood at 9:45 to highlight Romney’s ties to Damon Corporation and link him with Medicare fraud.
Martin Baker, National Political Director, Newt 2012, in a memo, “Florida forward”: “We will never have as much money as the Romney campaign, but we don’t need to. In South Carolina, we were significantly outspent … Regardless of the message the Romney campaign wants to push and the media wants to deliver, this race is just getting started.”
Reid Epstein: “Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters on the campaign plane that no matter what happens in Florida’s vote, the campaign will continue to draw contrasts with Gingrich and other GOP candidates who remain in the race. ‘You are not going to see Mitt Romney go into cruise control after Florida,’ Fehrnstrom said. ‘No matter what happens in Florida, you can’t predict what is going to happen. Mitt Romney is not going to hit the cruise control.'”
Jonathan Karl, on “Good Morning America”: “Mitt Romney has seen Newt Gingrich come back from the political dead twice. That’s why no matter what happens here tomorrow in Florida you can expect Romney to continue hammering Gingrich until he is driven a stake through the heart of his campaign.”
Will Newt consider dropping out?
George Stephanopoulos to Diane Sawyer, on who could get Gingrich to pull out: “‘Maybe his wife Callista — that would be about it.”