Signs Of A Big Romney Win In Florida

Mitt Romney seems headed for a big, and important, victory tomorrow in Florida.

If what are for the most part the final polls in Florida are any indication, then Mitt Romney appears to be headed for a massive victory in Florida tomorrow that could end up overshadowing Newt Gingrich’s impressive victory in South Carolina only nine days. Already, Gingrich’s campaign appears to be attempting to downplay the expected results tomorrow and Gingrich has said that he intends to stay in the race until the convention. Mitt Romney jabbed Gingrich a bit over that remark during a press gaggle on his campaign plane today, nothing that that is what someone who’s losing usually ends up saying. Clearly, the race will not end tomorrow regardless of how decisive the victory might be, but Romney will be heading into a phase of the race where he’s got the advantage with the biggest victory of the cycle yet under his belt.

In the new Quinnipiac poll, for example, Romney has a 14 point lead and a lead among virtually all demographic groups:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a 43 – 29 percent lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among Republican likely voters in Florida, the nation’s first big-state presidential primary, according to Quinnipiac University poll released today. Only 7 percent are undecided, but 24 percent say they might change their mind by tomorrow’s election

This compares to a 38 – 29 percent Romney lead in a January 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

In today’s survey, self-described conservatives go to Romney 40 – 31 percent. He gets 38 percent of white evangelical Christians to Gingrich’s 33 percent and wins 40 percent of Tea Party members to Gingrich’s 35 percent.

Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each have 11 percent of likely primary voters today.

Romney gets a 64 – 25 percent favorability rating from likely primary voters, compared to 61 – 28 percent Friday. Gingrich has 51 – 42 percent favorability, compared to 50 – 28 percent Friday. Santorum is at 58 – 16 percent favorable, with a negative 35 – 45 percent for Paul.

SurveyUSA, meanwhile, has Romney up by by 15 points:

Mitt Romney is poised for a decisive win in Tuesday’s 01/31/12 Florida Presidential Primary, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WFLA-TV in Tampa. The victory will give Romney 50 additional delegates, and bring his total to 69, on the march to the 1,144 delegates needed to be nominated by the Republican Party. Because Florida is one of the few “winner take all” states in 2012, the size of Romney’s victory is not as important as in a proportionally allocated state, but SurveyUSA’s final numbers show Romney 15 points atop Gingrich, 41% to 26%.

Romney is ahead in every region of the state. Gingrich draws to within single digits among Evangelicals, pro-life voters, Tea Party voters, and younger voters, but Romney overwhelms with a 25-point advantage among the affluent, a 20-point advantage among the college educated, a 20-point advantage among women, and a 19-point advantage among voters age 50+. There is effectively no difference between those who have already voted and those who have not yet voted, so a late Gingrich surge is not anticipated.

There are two new polls out there that have the race slightly closer —- Public Policy Polling and Insider Advantage — but these polls showing a 15+ point Romney lead are repeated in a new Suffolk University Poll [PDF] that shows Romney up twenty points, as well as the polls released yesterday by Rasmusssen and NBC/Marist. Which leaves what is essentially the final RCP chart (not including the last night of PPP’s polling and whatever else is released later tonight) for the race:

The importance of a big Florida win for Romney should not be underestimated.  For the second time in a month, his campaign would have shown the GOP how vulnerable Newt Gingrich is to a negative campaign. The past week has drastically weakened the argument among Gingrich supporters that their candidate could “out debate” President Obama. Additionally, a Florida win would make Romney the only one of the remaining candidates to decisively win two of the four January contests, and nearly win a third. It would, as I noted above, essentially erase whatever damage his campaign suffered as a result of that bad week in South Carolina and the loss there. He would win the biggest primary contest until Super Tuesday. And, perhaps most importantly for Romney considering the perception that he has had a hard time getting his fellow Republicans to accept him as their candidate, he would do all this in a primary where only registered Republicans are allowed to vote.  If that’s not all an argument for Romney’s inevitability, I don’t know what is.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    Hubris Doug. Hubris. You and all the pundits and the right wing establishment are setting up very high expectations for Romney’s victory.

  2. MBunge says:

    “his campaign would have shown the GOP how vulnerable Newt Gingrich is to a negative campaign.”

    Any candidate who’s outspent 5 to 1 and has virtually his entire party establishment turn on him is “vulverable”. That it takes THAT much for Romney to beat Gingrich doesn’t exactly argue that the biggest vulnerabilities lie with Newt.


  3. Hey Norm says:

    Meanwhile Pew is out with polling that shows dis-satisfaction with the Republican field rising 6 points from 44% to 52%.
    I wonder if Romney is going to be able to outspend Obama 5-1?

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Its hard not to look through the unfavorablity ratings (among Republicans) in these polls and think that Santorum with Gingrich’s money would have been a very formidable candidate to Romney.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    @Hey Norm: “I wonder if Romney is going to be able to outspend Obama 5-1?”

    Of course, if Obama eventually wins reelection it will solely be because of the money. Its not fair I tell you; not fair, not fair . . .

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Er…that’s 8 points.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Except that Santorum’s record hasn’t received public scrutiny in this campaign because he was regarded as a marginal candidate.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    @ Joe…
    I knew that.
    I was testing everyone else.

  9. Jr says:

    Mitt Romney’s win proves that great organization can propel shitty candidates to victory.

  10. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, there’s a difference between a Saturday primary in a place like South Carolina and a regular primary in a place like Florida. So if someone out there actually was surprised that Gingrich cleaned Romney’s clock in the former, whereas Romney is trouncing Gingrich in the latter, then to a certain degree that person probably is brain dead.

    As for the November general election there’s no doubt that Obama is the clear favorite. Obama’s the incumbent. He’s going to receive around 98% of the black vote. Romney already to some degree is damaged goods. Obama will have a vast fundraising advantage. There are the unions. The mass media. Somewhere around 4-5 million evangelical Christians are all but certain to sit out the election.

    That said, however, Romney is a far better general election candidate than a GOP primary candidate. He’s polished, intelligent and presidential. He’s tall and telegenic. It won’t be too difficult for him to pivot back to the center, given that his actual positions are center-left to center-right.

    Regarding the Electoral College, Romney has major appeal in three states that in ’08 went for Obama: Michigan, due to the legacy factor; Nevada, due to that states’ very high relative population of Mormons; New Hampshire, in light of the proximity factor. Michigan and Nevada, especially, are troubling from Obama’s standpoint. Those two states have been crushed by the bad economy and by the the housing market. If Romney were to flip Michigan, Nevada and New Hampshire there would be a material risk from Obama’s standpoint of losing the election, notwithstanding the presumed majority in Obama’s favor of the popular vote.

    Time will tell. Ultimately I suspect Obama will prevail, but a Romney victory would not be all that shocking. Of course if the economy were to take another downturn this spring or summer then all bets are off. The contest in that event, at worst from Romney’s standpoint, would become a coin flip.

  11. Jr says:

    Romney has no shot at Michigan.

    His comments about letting Detroit fail isn’t going to play well there. On top of that recent polling has Obama up 8 over him due to people believing that the economy is improving there. The Mormon effect in Nevada is overestimated, and the state is becoming more hispanic by the day. NH will likely flip, but that isn’t much of a loss.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    Of course, if Obama eventually wins reelection it will solely be because of the money. Its not fair I tell you; not fair, not fair . . .

    Actually it wouldn’t be, as the President is a much better campaigner than Romney will ever be…and are you really trying to dismiss Romney’s 5-1 spending ratio over Gingrich? C’mon now…

  13. john personna says:

    FWIW, I don’t think 40/30 is a blow-out. Gingrich should be in single digits.

  14. Tillman says:

    The race is going to be far more interesting geographically than others. From what I’ve read, Gingrich’s support is mostly in the panhandle, a region ideologically similar to South Carolina and other deep red states. A strong showing there wouldn’t win him Florida, but it would show Romney isn’t making inroads with the right voters if he’s trying to secure the nomination early.

  15. DRS says:

    Weakest front runner ever. He had to make a huge personal effort and actually learn to debate (or more accurately throw put-downs properly) to defeat the lead clown. I agree with commenters above: needing to spend 5-1 to do it doesn’t look like strength to me.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    There’s an informal rule in auto racing. Apparently it also applies to modern politics. “You can’t beat cubic money.”