Florida primary voting is already over in the peninsula. The panhandle will be done at 8:00 pm EST. Initial exit polls look strong for Mitt Romney. What do we take from this primary vote and where do the campaigns go from here?

Romney seems to have all the momentum going into today’s Florida primary, what would a dominant victory by Mitt mean for the battle for the Republican nomination?

Can Newt survive a blow out?

Rick Santorum’s presence in the race isn’t doing Gingrich any favors, and Rick has blown off Newt’s suggestions it is time to pack up and go home.

Ron Paul has been MIA in Florida because of his delegate-gathering strategy of only campaigning in states where delegates are split. Florida’s winner-take-all status and the pricey nature of TV ad buys are not conducive to Dr. Paul’s grand strategy.

And finally, we wait with bated breath as Donald Trump is going to announce his endorsement soon. Whee!

We have a good idea who will win in Florida, but by how much will Mitt Romney win? Or will you predict an upset? Newt Gingrich seems destined for second, but third place is a toss up. Not finishing last is probably more important to Rick Santorum’s campaign that lacks any solid base, as opposed to Ron Paul.

As for the contest, predict the order of finish, including percentage of the vote for the four main candidates. If anyone gets all four percentages rounded to the nearest whole number right, Jason will send you a book from his stash. If two people pick all the same percentages, the person whose comment time stamp is earlier will have the valid entry. Now begin channeling your inner Nostradamus.







Note: Click graphic to enlarge.

The final Florida Composite Poll shows Mitt Romney’s lead continuing to grow, now up by nearly 12 points, while Newt Gingrich is sinking again. Coming out of Florida, Romney will again have significant momentum with likely wins ahead in Nevada and Maine.

At the same time, the Gingrich campaign will likely struggle to find the cash to compete, as it drained significant portions in Florida and will likely see further reductions in contributions correlating with his declining momentum. But he has vowed to continue on so we will likely not be spared from the brutal tactics from both his camp and the Romney camp for quite awhile.

To start off with, I’m by no means a Republican. I was in the streets with a sign during the Bush years so much that I really did start to think that pepper spray was an every day food product. I spoke out against every policy Bush put forth until he announced his going back to Texas policy of 2009. That’s why, after the let down of the Obama candidacy and the continued economic collapse, I was surprised to find myself gravitating towards Ron Paul.

One thing anyone can respect about Ron Paul regardless of where they are on Rossiter’s spectrum is his stubborn devotion to integrity and consistency. An example: Ron Paul is against both gay marriage and abortion. No surprise there, these are among the pet issues of the American right. But Paul’s treatment of the issue is different. When he says abortion or gay marriage should be left up to the states, it’s not because he wants to dodge the question, it’s because he really believes that, and has voted as such before.
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Long ago and far away I was once a defensive lineman. Anyone who has ever strapped on a set of pads and a helmet can tell you there is a lot of trash talking that goes on in the trenches. All of it is uplifting and collegial. If you believe that, you might also believe Ron Paul has a snowballs chance in hell of winning the 2012 Race for the Oval.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Football.

One type of trash talk that is not permitted on the gridiron is anything resembling whining. While there may be no crying in baseball, there is certainly absolutely no whining permitted on the football field. Even the referees won’t tolerate it.
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The concept of “electability” is often a consideration used by voters to evaluate candidates. Fortunately, since December 1, the number of polls taken comparing each candidate head-to-head with President Obama have been increasing significantly. We have used these polls to create the graphic to the left, which compares the four remaining Republican candidates plus/minus differential in polls directly versus the President. On this graph, if a candidate is at 0, it is a tie between him and Obama. If the candidate is above 0, they are beating Obama, likewise, if below zero, they are losing to Obama.
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Mr. Gravitas, Former Senator Fred Thompson, says Mitt Romney has Matt Drudge in his back pocket. Former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is officially back on O’s campaign payroll.

In Massachusetts, a probate court ruling was overturned which found that an order for abortion and sterilization was in order because the drugs taken by the mother for mental illness were harmful to the fetus (But the abortion was not!?!).

And stop the presses, Romney is breaking a stride in the PD composite for Florida, coming in at 41.9%, extending his advantage. Can he keep it up?







Note: Click graphic to enlarge.
Over the past five days, Mitt Romney’s numbers have shown significant movement in Florida, certainly enough to consider it a solid trend. Romney has now led in the past nine consecutive polls. Barring unforeseen revelation, we are no longer wondering if Romney will take Florida, but by how much.

Newt Gingrich is still polling ahead of Romney nationally and leading the National PD Composite. The impact of a Romney victory on Gingrich’s national poll numbers will be the story by the end of the week, whether Gingrich’s popularity remains at its current levels or if momentum carries Romney back into the national lead.

Herman Cain has endorsed New Gingrich just two days before the pivotal Florida primary. Can Cain’s support help Newt recover his mojo in the Sunshine State?

Meanwhile, both Gingrich and Ron Paul have indicated they are in the primary race for the long haul.

Florida is Tuesday, and the latest polls show Mitt Romney expanding his lead in the land of Mickey Mouse and orange juice. With no more debates scheduled until late February, a decisive Florida win could give Romney the momentum for several weeks and five contests – Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Sarah Palin vehemently defends Newt Gingrich against the recent attacks levied against him. This has lead Politico to call her ‘Newt Gingrich’s secret weapon‘, as she has surfaced to defend him again, just as she did right before the South Carolina primary when Palin said she would vote for Gingrich if she could.

Despite Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama’s claims that manufacturing needs help and their promotion of plans to subsidize it, the sector’s profits are the highest they have been in US history and 26% above pre-recession levels!

Finally, Politico reports that the left is attacking Republicans, including President Obama in his first campaign ad, for having “secret” money backing them. Yet the Democrats are doing the exact same thing.

A professional athlete, no matter the sport, enjoys a certain time of year called the off-season. Off-seasons allow athletes to clear their minds and heal their bodies. As an added benefit, off-seasons prevent fans from becoming bored with the sport. Professional offense-takers should follow that example. Maybe their minds wouldn’t be so cloudy and the rest of us wouldn’t grow so sick of them.

Feminists head the herd when it comes to taking offense. They can find affront at the drop of a hat. Feminists have taken umbrage at everything from Victoria’s Secret to My Little Pony. Anything that fails to promote feminism’s “strong” woman — the bra-burning, gruff, nagging, sea hag — renders women doting airheads suitable for serving the patriarchal society.
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Mitts for Mitt

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Filed Under Humor on Jan 27 

HT to Tom Cohan for passing along Mitts for Mitt. Any suggestions for other Mitts the site might be missing?

One of the great things about a primary is the blatant pandering. Yesterday, Gingrich literally promised Florida voters the moon. Today, Romney is offering them Cuba. Granted, there is a good segment of Floridian voters who have made it absolutely clear that they don’t want Cuba through, you know, leaving Cuba and coming here. However, Romney figures they can have Cuba back all to themselves if his plan comes to fruition.

Romney’s ingenious policy? Wait for the Castro brothers to die. That’s literally the height of his creativity. Granted, this has been the policy of the United States since President Castro kicked out our sugar plantations and fruit companies for essentially using the islands rural populace as slave labor, but it’s bound to work eventually! Romney went on to claim that Obama’s policy, which he dubbed appeasement, of letting Cubans visit their relatives in Cuba and send them money for food has, somehow, helped President Raul Castro stay in power.
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Who won the debate last night? CNN says Mitt Romney gained the most and Rick Santorum had his “strongest performance so far”. Politico is currently leading with “Newt’s no-show debate“. FOX calls it Romney’s “best debate performance“. Meanwhile, as Jason mentioned on FOX this morning, Ron Paul was marginalized once again (we will have the clip cut and posted later today).

Will this scenario mirror South Carolina, leading to a big Romney win or will Florida provide a different result?

Other topics, as always, are open for discussion in the open thread.

The final debate before Florida voters make their choices is tonight on CNN. It is also streaming at their website.

Newt Gingrich’s two debate wins prior to South Carolina solidified his later victory at the polls. Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the crowd-free debate earlier this week has given him a boost in the polls taken since. With this recent evidence of the debates having so much sway with voters their importance has increased significantly. The candidates are clearly aware of this, so watch for sparks to fly early and often.

Welcome to Jarret Herrmann, a new contributor to PD!

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Florida detailed his plans to, among other things, colonize the moon and declare the celestial body the 51st state after building, and I believe this is the exact quote, “a sweet-awesome moon fort”. He then challenged the other candidates in the Florida debate by boldly declaring “Everything but the podium is lava.”

In all seriousness, this is a needless provocation towards another space race with infinitely higher stakes at a time when the U.S. can absolutely not afford to fund such an outlandish competition. Could we make it to the moon, and have a sustainable colony there by 2020? Absolutely! If we work together with our allies and, I’m not afraid to suggest this as a Socialist, share. Yes, it might seem tempting to point up at the sky and declare “Dibs” but it’s both childish and insane.
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Michael Steele calls the idea of another Republican entering the race “outright stupid”, as there are only 13 states’ ballots that remain open.

Things aren’t going so well for Newt Gingrich as his relationship to and his opinion of Ronald Reagan who he has undeniably hitched his entire campaign to has come increasingly under fire. Additionally, Gingrich admitted to making up part of his defense on the allegations presented by his second ex-wife. It turns out, only Gingrich’s daughters were offered to ABC as character witnesses.

It’s probably no coincidence that Gingrich’s poll numbers are declining in Florida while Mitt Romney’s are improving. Romney is ahead in the two three most recent Florida polls, including moving from eight points behind Gingrich to eight points ahead in the last two Insider Advantage polls. This movement is consistent with what has been seen over the past couple of weeks where the perceived debate winner gains a bump in the polls. The final debate opportunity will be tonight at 8:00 pm EST, and of course, we will have an open thread available.

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Note: Click graphic to enlarge.

Edit: The Rasmussen Florida poll released this morning has very little impact on this data, as it confirms the most recent results.

The Florida Composite poll shows a dead heat between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. As the debates are clearly having a significant sway on the undecided voters, look for significant movement in polls released within two days of tonight’s contest.

Rick Santorum appears to be bottoming out. If he finished fourth to Ron Paul, there seems to be no reason why he should continue. Certainly, what little contribution money he has coming in will dry up faster than the pet rock went out of style.

Ron Paul chugs on. But it won’t do him much good in Florida, as it is a winner take all state, so he is focusing on the next caucus contests in Nevada and Maine where the delegates are awarded by proportion of the vote.