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August, 30th 2007

And now Florida, and the Republicans

– Liz Mair

My editor at the New York Sun, Ryan Sager has a good piece up today about Florida being the deciding state on the Republican side of things.

A lot of pundits seem to keep focusing on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as in previous years. Personally, my view is that those states matter very little these days. Florida looks a lot more like the big states that immediately follow its primary (New York, California, where there are substantial numbers of Republicans, but the state isn't overall conservative like Iowa, or especially South Carolina, is). So, what Florida has to say on who the GOP nominee should be is, in my view, going to count a lot more than what South Carolina has to say. And, even with half its delegates stripped, as Ryan points out in his piece, quoting the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer, 57 delegates (50% of Florida's pool) is more than most states have.

Otherwise put, Florida isn't losing anything by setting its primary earlier than the RNC wanted. And it's creating a situation in which it becomes much more likely that Rudy Giuliani is the nominee-- though as Mitt Romney continues to spend money on advertising (while the Giuliani campaign continues to scrimp and save as if it were being run by my collective Scottish family), that will probably change. Nonetheless, as the below sampling of recent polling suggests, Giuliani has been getting stronger and stronger in Florida-- so if Romney cuts into his lead a little, it doesn't look likely to dump him in second place.

Here's a roundup of the recent polling out of Florida:

Strategic Vision Poll
8/11/2007
N=600

Rudy Giuliani 34%
Fred Thompson 18%
Mitt Romney 10%
John McCain 8%
Tom Tancredo 3%
Mike Huckabee 3%
Newt Gingrich 3%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 1%
Duncan Hunter 1%
Sam Brownback 1%
Unsure 16%

Quinnipiac University Poll
8/3/2007
N=366

Rudy Giuliani 26%
Fred Thompson 19%
John McCain 11%
Mitt Romney 9%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Sam Brownback 2%
Mike Huckabee 2%
Tommy Thompson 1%
Unsure 18%
Other 3%
Unsure 3%

Mason Dixon Polling & Research
7/25/2007
N=400

Rudy Giuliani 21%
Fred Thompson 18%
John McCain 11%
Mitt Romney 7%
Mike Huckabee 5%
Tommy Thompson 2%
Sam Brownback 1%
Newt Gingrich 1%
Unsure 34%

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