Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Florida Exit Polls

You can see the MSNBC exit polls from Florida here.

Of some interest...Voters who made their decision a month before the election (i.e. before the Iowa Caucus), prefered Clinton over Obama 63% to 27%. Early voters prefered Clinton to Obama 50% to 31%. During this period voters would be disproportionately swayed by name recognition and celebrity. These groups made up 33% and 26% of the total voters respectively.

It is only in the last month in which the news coverage has been greater, the debates have actually gotten voter attention and the campaigns have really kicked in gear. Voters who made their decision in the last month prefered Obama to Clinton 47% to 40%.

Voters who made their decision in the last week prefered Obama to Clinton 39% to 31%.

Voters who made their decision in the last three days prefered Obama to Clinton 46% to 38%.

And Voters who made their decision the day of the election prefered Clinton 34% to 30% (with Edwards getting 29%). This is interesting to me because it looks like people who decide how to vote the day of the election looked like they vote more or less randomly.

This all suggests to me that voters who were paying attention to the campaigns in other states and to the brief and lopsided campaign in Florida, picked Obama by a substantial margin. Clinton won Florida largely because over half of the voters made up their minds before they had much information on which to base their decision. I have heard that this trend may be repeated in California.

This has implications for how the political situation is playing out. It suggests that the more people pay attention to the campaigns, the more they like Obama and the less they like Clinton. This may mean that Florida is not the kind of "bell weather" that Dr. S. hopes it will be. If I were a betting man, I'd look at this data and predict tightening races on Super Tuesday even in California. I certainly would not expect a 20% win for Clinton except maybe in New York.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Interesting exit poll analysis. It appears that the 30% of voters who made their decision in the last month (but not the day of) broke for Obama, by about 7-8 points in each of the three categories you cited. However, the slightly larger 33% of absentee ballots broke a whopping 19 points in favor of Clinton, and a fair number of those voters marked their ballots within the last four weeks. (They were excluded from previous categories. Their advanced age likely explains their support for Hillary.) So while I think you have indeed spotted a break for Obama among undecideds, when you include a portion of the absentee results, it more modest. And I still think Florida is a bellwether in the sense that the patterns you spotted will be repeated elsewhere. No doubt this is why Edwards dropped out.

I believe you are right, RbR, that a 20 point lead for Clinton will not be repeated. I had previously said I expected a 10 point lead, then revised that prediction to a 6-8 point lead, yet now national polling shows even further tightening. And the latest Rasmussen poll in California shows only a three point lead for Clinton--statistical dead heat in California! (And that did not even extend to the period to include Edwards' departure. Think about that.)

Things are indeed shifting Obama's way. It is still an exciting race. And while I think the better money is still on a Hillary win, hopes for a decisive Super Tuesday are shrinking. Coverage of the debate tonight in Los Angeles will be fascinating to see, and very important for both campaigns. But I think California has become a must-win for Hillary. If she loses California, Obama becomes the front-runner. And this is now a real possibility.

Raised By Republicans said...

Absentee voters are disproportionatly older typically. That MIGHT explain the trend you noticed. Hillary is very popular among older voters.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Yes, that's what I wrote.