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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Florida Primary Election Update

So I carefully described the difference between the Florida panhandle counties and the rest of the state in a previous post and then this morning Jonathan Martin of Politico goes on MSNBC this morning and just calls them the "cracker counties!"  That certainly didn't go over well with the conservative blogs or talk radio.  I haven't see the reaction from the local press but that might be interesting too.

Well, the primary is over.  All counties have 100% of the vote turned in and we can look at the Florida Secretary of State's totals and do our own analysis.  And analyze it, we will!

Let's start with voter turnout.  There were 1,669,742 votes cast in the Republican presidential contest.  This compares to the approximately 4,000,000 votes cast for the Republican candidate in the 2008 general election.

Romney won the state.  His 46.4% of the vote was certainly decisive.  But what happened up here in Escambia county?  In spite of my sighting only one campaign sign for Gingrich, he was the local winner.

Where did the other candidates do well?

Newt Gingrich
Gingrich had 34 counties where he beat Romney; Romney beat Gingrich in 33.  The Gingrich high-water mark was 56.4% of the vote in Hamilton county.  Hamilton county is small, votes Republican and has just over 4000 households.  If you have driven the Interstate in Florida, you've probably been there.  The Junction between I-10 and I-75 is located there.  On our last trip to Florida, I blogged a bit about the county seat of Jasper.

Rick Santorum
Santorum hit a high of 23.9% of the vote in Wakulla county.  Wakulla county is another Gulf Coast county but also lies in the the Tallahassee metropolitan area, just 20 or so miles south of the state capital.  The county is more known for fishing than beaches.  Gingrich won the county and Santorum almost tied Romney.

Ron Paul
Paul hit a meager high of 11.4% of the vote in Alachua county.  Alachua county, to quote from the Wikipedia entry, "is the home of the University of Florida and is also known for its diverse culture, local music, and artisans."  Serious libertarian country, whether you spell it with a capital "L" or small "l."

Here is a list of the percentages for each of the candidates in those selected counties.

Candidate State Escambia Hamilton Wakulla Alachua Miami-Dade
Romney 46.4% 34.7% 21.5% 25.1% 36.1% 60.8%
Gingrich 31.9% 38.8% 56.4% 39.6% 36.8% 26.5%
Santorum 13.3% 15.6% 10.5% 23.9% 14.0% 6.2%
Paul 7.0% 9.4% 8.9% 9.3% 11.4% 4.9%
total votes 1,669,462 37,750 637 2,178 17,189 114,644

And how did Romney build up such a big lead?  Well, by winning big in Miami.  Elections are always very interesting and very local.

I was talking to our rental agent for this condominium today and mentioned that we hadn't seen a single campaign commercial during any newscast since we fast forward through them all.  She volunteered, "They are just so awful!"  I think I might have sold her on the merits of a Digital Video Recorder.

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