Florida primary results: Mitt Romney wins big
By ALEXANDER BURNS | 1/31/12 4:24 PM EST Updated: 1/31/12 8:47 PM EST
TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney claimed a powerful victory in Florida's presidential primary, reasserting himself as the frontrunner for his party's nomination and leaving Newt Gingrich reeling from a likely double-digit defeat and facing an uncertain path to regaining his post-South Carolina momentum.
With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led Gingrich by 16 percentage points, 47 percent to 31 percent. Rick Santorum was a distant third, with 13 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 7 percent.
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Exit polls: Romney wins the electability argument
By EMILY SCHULTHEIS | 1/31/12 8:34 PM EST
Mitt Romney's big victory in Florida tonight shows that he's winning the electability argument but still has trouble with the Republican Party's most conservative voters, according to exit polls.
On Romney's general-election electability, which came into question in South Carolina's exit polls, Romney came out strong today: a full 45 percent of Florida voters said their top priority was a candidate who could beat President Obama, and of those, 58 percent backed Romney. That's a full 25 points more than Gingrich, who got 33 percent; Santorum got 6 percent and Paul got 2 percent. Among those who said they wanted a "true conservative," Gingrich won with 45 percent, compared with 30 percent for Santorum, 14 percent for Paul and 10 percent for Romney.
Just 40 percent of GOP voters in Florida today said they are an evangelical or born-again Christian – a figure that's much lower than in states like South Carolina or Iowa. Gingrich won among self-described evangelical voters with 39 percent, compared with 36 percent for Romney, 19 percent for Santorum and 5 percent for Paul.
Gingrich also won among voters who described themselves as "very conservative": he had 43 percent of that group, compared with 29 percent for Romney. Romney, however, won among "somewhat conservative" voters 51 percent to 32 percent, and among "moderate or liberal" voters 59 percent to 20 percent.
Still, it's worth noting that unlike South Carolina, Florida is a closed primary – meaning only registered Republicans voted tonight.
Romney won by more than 20 points among Latinos, a group that made up a full 14 percent of Florida voters today – he got 53 percent of that important Florida voting bloc, compared with 30 percent for Gingrich, 8 percent for Santorum and 5 percent for Paul.
Romney won big among women, getting just over half of that demographic with 51 percent. Gingrich, who has struggled with this demographic in the past, was a distant second at 29 percent, followed by Santorum at 13 percent and Paul at 6 percent.
No real surprise to me- as I've said before- Romney is the only one that stands any chance of beating Obama...The rest are too far right- especially on social issues ...Apparently Florida voters agree...
And its not surprising that Newt is not getting much support from women... Most women that can think for themselves do not want a person that treats women like he does as the President...