Florida primary, 2012

Florida primary 2012, yesterday and today

In other news, Florida held its 2012 Republican primary Tuesday. Newt Romney defeated Mitt Gingrich, 46 percent to 32 percent.

For perspective on the hullabaloo over the GOP primary, Republicans constitute 36 percent of registered voters in Florida. Total Florida voters: 11,053,664. Democrats: 4,604,373. Republicans: 3,962,406.

 

Florida law suppresses vote

The former fact was mentioned on MSNBC, not live-voice but in a banner on screen. John King on CNN soon afterward said that the primary was open to “more than four million Republican voters” in Florida.

 

Turnout was 1,663,698 as of recent numbers linked above, or 42 percent of registered GOPers. Down from the 2008 primary, as noted elsewhere, including at TPM, but better than the gubernatorial primary of 2010.

 

Probably commentators will rush en masse to blame the lower (than 2008) turnout on Romney’s “carpet bombing” ad campaign.

History shows primary turnout low for Florida, of course, as in other states generally, so it would be a mistake to read too much into it. Nonetheless, two sizable factors each reduce turnout in a GOP primary in Florida. Only one has been much discussed on air.

  • So many of the in-the-minority-and-they-know-it Obama haters are so content to have any GOP candidate, any at all, that they are content to stay on the sidelines in the primary. Generally they’d rather just know as little about their nominee as possible. They don’t want to be informed of any good reason they have to vote against him.
  • With a foreclosure rate among the highest in the nation, the economy dwarfs every other concern. Even the large media outlets cited exit polls showing economic concerns outweighing social issues, religion, hate-Obama-ism (dignified as ‘electability’), etc., in the Florida primary.

 

And it’s on to the Nevada caucuses.

 

The unfolding primary season is providing a useful punch list of reforms and small election improvements needed, state by state.

 

  • Iowa needed more oversight for careful counting of the vote at its highly respected caucuses. In 2012, some watchful Ron Paul supporters happened to provide the assistance that would better be built into the process. Even though some of them raised the alarm at the time, Romney was still mistakenly declared (more or less) the winner in Iowa.
  • Florida began reporting early returns—broadcast on national television—before all of the state’s polls had closed. This is what the Baptists used to call backsliding.

 

Cable channels, after all, are careful to reassure viewers repeatedly that they will not announce exit polls results on how people voted until the polls have closed. That cable hosts and pundits MSNBC and CNN drop heavy hints of the outcome beforehand, and that the channels jump to announce projected results a few seconds after the much-built-up top of the hour, is beside the point. Clearly the networks understand that it is anti-democratic-process to start announcing results before all citizens have had a chance to vote. Florida earliest returns showed Romney running ahead almost 2-to-1, too. That could not have been heartening for other people voting after work, in the Panhandle.

 

Gingrich

Obviously the smaller corrections are dwarfed by larger problems. Since the moment of Obama’s election, the GOP nationwide has engaged in a campaign of vote suppression on a scale unprecedented since the era of legal segregation. But that issue needs fuller detail.

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