Romney Poised for Decisive Victory

Florida primary polls looking good for Mitt, but there are subplots
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2012 7:10 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2012 7:54 AM CST
Romney Poised for Decisive Victory
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney supporters attend a campaign rally at Lake Sumter Landing in The Villages, Florida, January 30, 2012.   (Getty Images)

Voters will be casting ballots in Florida today, and if polls are any indication, they'll be voting for Mitt Romney. But as always, there are other subplots to watch, too. Here's a rundown of what the pundits are saying:

  • Based on dozens of polls, Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight projection system gives Romney a whopping 97% chance of victory, predicting that he'll win around 44% of the vote, to Newt Gingrich's 29.3%. That's close to the final Florida poll from PPP, which has Romney winning 39% to 31%.

  • Indeed, Romney has a sizeable lead already. At least 15% of Florida Republicans voted in advance, the Washington Post reports, and one poll suggests Romney won that round 55% to 24%.
  • Romney's victory would be especially significant because Florida is so diverse, the Wall Street Journal adds; a win would indicate that he is indeed the candidate best poised to beat Obama.
  • Politico will be watching a few key demographics with interest. Will Gingrich's marital shenanigans hurt him with women, as they didn't in South Carolina? And will Romney win over Hispanics, as he didn't in 2008? (Polls indicate that he will.)
  • Gingrich's totals in the Panhandle and northeast will be interesting as well—those are the regions most similar to South Carolina.
  • And then there's Rick Santorum. He devoted no resources to Florida, but if his total is too low, expect calls for him to drop out to intensify.
  • The apparent inevitability of Romney's victory already has some candidates shifting focus to Nevada—which means that whatever happens, this rodeo ain't over.
(More Florida primary stories.)

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