Morning polls: Romney leads in Florida (!), McCain leads in New York and Connecticut

When I see polls from states like New York or Connecticut, my first instinct is to dismiss them as completely irrelevant. After all, the deluge of primary polls from late-voting states throughout the fall taught us nothing useful about the state of the campaign. But it's hard to believe that New York surveys now are crucially important. We are two weeks from Super Tuesday and the dynamics of the race are getting set.

With that, we got a series of polls from states that are coming up in the next two weeks, starting with a stunning Rasmussen poll of Florida:

  • Romney is ahead 25% to McCain's 20%, with Giuliani at 19% and Mike Huckabee at 13%, statistically tied with Thompson's 12%.
Don't forget that Florida is a closed primary, the first of any voting state where independents can't vote. That makes McCain's path to victory that much more complicated -- though it is still surprising to see Romney surging to a lead in the first post-South Carolina/Nevada poll.

A Romney win in Florida would scramble the field yet again a week from Super Tuesday -- and looking at the following polls from major February 5th states, it looks like McCain could roll to the nomination if he manages to win Florida, so his rivals better stop him here. A new poll from Connecticut, first was released today from the Univ. of CT:

  • Among Republicans, McCain has a massive lead, 39% to 16% for Giuliani. Romney gets 11%, Huckabee 8%.
  • Among Democrats, Clinton gets 41%, Obama 27% and Edwards 9%.
Even worse for Rudy Giuliani are these two polls from New York, his home-state:

  • A Siena poll has McCain leading Giuliani 36% to 24%, with Romney at 10%.
  • Among Dems, Clinton is holding on strong, 48% to 23%.
  • Second, Marist released its own poll from NY that has McCain at 34%, ahead of Romney and Giuliani tied at 19%. Huckabee gets 15%. Giuliani is not even leading in New York City.
  • Among Dems, Clinton leads 48% to 32%.
Needless to say that these numbers are atrocious for Giuliani. Remember that his campaign's argument was that Connecticut, New York and New Jersey were momentum-proof states that would give him assured victories -- and a delegate lead. For remember that all three are winner-take-all, so even if Rudy loses by one vote he gets no delegate at all. And it looks like a loss in Florida would definitely cause him to fall out at this point. Giuliani's fate is a clear warning sign to whoever wants to attempt to skip the first 4 voting states in the future. The front-runner in national polls three weeks ago, Giuliani now comes fourth or fifth regularly, having completely fallen out of the picture.

The Siena poll also has some general election numbers for the state of New York -- and they show that McCain could actually pick-up the state in the right circumstances:

  • Clinton and Obama crush Rudy (56% to 34% and 53% to 35%). Clinton also handily beats McCain (52% to 39%) but McCain manages a statistical tie with Obama (44% to 42%).
That's right, the Empire State could perhaps be a battleground and McCain's superior electability conforms most indications we have been getting recently, including yesterday's SUSA surveys from VA and KS.

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  • Romney leads in Florida!

    I think I need swear at this point...

    Holy shit!

    If Romney wins Florida, won has to assume he would get a positively massive boost for Super Tuesday making him the favorite.

    It will be interesting to see if the anti-McCain section of the GOP coalesces around Romney. We will see if the others support drops off before then.

    Things could turn out to be very, very interesting.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 21 January, 2008 16:08  

  • Hmm...I don't know. The Rasmussen poll is only a one-day poll, and it also seems to be registering a sizable boost in support for Fred Thompson, which makes me doubt it a bit. (He's at 12% here, but most polls consistently have him at around 7%.) It's clear that Romney can't be counted out in Florida by any means, but I would like to dilute this poll with a few others--preferably tracking polls.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 21 January, 2008 17:47  

  • Also, there's a one-day SurveyUSA poll out, taken the same day as the Rasmussen poll, that paints a very different picture of who's on top:

    McCain 25%
    Giuliani 20%
    Romney 19%
    Huckabee 14%
    Thompson 7%
    Paul 7%

    Both leads (Romney in Rasmussen, McCain in SurveyUSA) are within the margin of error for the polls. Yep, this one definitely needs two to three more days of numbers.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 21 January, 2008 17:52  

  • I think the Republican nomination is up in the air at this point. I have to give a slight edge to Romney at this point. He has the money, and he has the organization.

    In Florida, it's a 3 horse race between McCain, Guliani, and Romney. If Guliani finishes third, he will be lucky to win one state on February 5th.

    Fred Thompson--has he dropped out yet? I thought he would drop out before the primary in Florida.

    I'll make one more prediction--Huckabee will not win anything on February 5th. He will run ok in the South, but that's about it.

    By Anonymous Southern Slave, At 21 January, 2008 20:37  

  • Southern Slave...Huckabee won't win anything on February 5? Really? Not even, oh, ARKANSAS?! Next you'll be telling me McCain won't win Arizona and Romney won't win Utah. (Giuliani not winning New York, at this point, is a likely possibility, but Fred Thompson might win Tennessee if he's still in the race, which I doubt.)

    Florida will determine the GOP frontrunner, or lack thereof, heading into February 5. If Romney wins Florida, he has the edge. If McCain wins Florida, he has the edge. If anyone else wins Florida (and realistically, only Huckabee and Giuliani have any hope of that, however faint), then we're looking at a geographically split day and a brokered convention.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 21 January, 2008 22:34  

  • "If Romney wins Florida, won has to assume he would get a positively massive boost for Super Tuesday making him the favorite.

    It will be interesting to see if the anti-McCain section of the GOP coalesces around Romney. We will see if the others support drops off before then."

    Senator McCain will likely win Florida, but while it would help him, it wouldn't necessarily derail him if he lost there. His wins in the critical PR campaign of New Hampshire and South Carolina most definitely make him the frontrunner.

    Mitt Romney is a shady character and is trying to deceive people with his 'golds' in states like Wyoming and Nevada (where no one else campaigned) or Michigan which was his home state. Mitt Romney's performance in South Carolina was EXECRABLE! He even finished behind Fred Thompson. So, let's try to see things in perspective.

    By Anonymous Steve, At 21 January, 2008 23:01  

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