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Florida Exit Polling

Florida Exit Polling January 30, 2008

There is some chatter this morning about exit poll data in Florida.  The significance is being misinterpreted.  The final results were McCain 36% and Romeny 31%.  CNN didn’t release the margin of error in the polling.  If it is like most exit polling, you can assume a 5% margin of error.  (There is the other issue that these are non random polls.  The pick polling stations based on past predictive ability for regions.)  Having prefaced this, here is what we can generally say:

  • McCain polls weakly among those aged 18-39.  He polls strongly with those over 65.
  • McCain polls strongly among those who mostly favor abortion and poorly among those mostly against abortion.  Romeny polled poorly among those who support abortion.
  • McCain polls very weakly among more than weekly Church goers.  Romeny polled relatively weakly among these voters.  These voters went overwhelmingly for Huckabee.  McCain polled very strongly with C&Es and those who never goto Church. 
  • Romney did well among Protestants.  Despite commentary otherwise, Catholics were not statistically significant in breaking for McCain.  This is particularly evident among White Catholics.  McCain polled strongly only among Catholics who rarely go to Church.  Even with his dominance of the Cuban vote, McCain did not poll statistically significantly better.
  • The White Catholic Vote was 21% of the GOP electorate.  White Catholics made up 15% of Democratic Electorate.  They went overwhelmingly for Clinton.  Unfortunately the Democratic data is worthless for comparisons with GOP data, because the Democratic primary had no delegates at stake.
  • According to the exit polling, Governor Crist’s endorsement was the most significant factor in choosing McCain over Romney.  Among the 42% of the electorate that found it important, McCain enjoyed 54% of the vote.  This seems very unusual.
  • Romney polled evenly among Born Again Christians.  McCain polled poorly.
  • McCain polled very strongly among those not happy with the Bush administration.  Romney polled better among those who had a positive view of the administration.
  • McCain and Giuliani dominated the Cuban vote.
  • Romeny polled very strongly among the 40% of the electorate that supports addressing immigration via deportation.  He lost among the 29% that favored citizenship.  Oddly enough, McCain still somehow maintained 26% of the deport them vote.  This confirms 2006 polling data that suggested anti-immigration  could help a candidate but was not sufficient as the only issue.
  • McCain did best among those under $30,000 and those over $200,000 in income.  Romney did better among those between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • Romney did best among those who thought the economy was good.  McCain did best among those who felt the economy was Not So Good or worse, 63% of the electorate.
  • McCain as expected did excellent among Independents.  He also did well among liberals and self-described moderates.  He did poorly among conservatives.
  • McCain polled well among veterans.

CNN’s exit poll data.

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