The Talk of Florida

Florida is practically giddy today over last night’s win; not for McCain or Clinton, but for the sunshine state itself, which had its first decisive presidential primary in recent memory. "A Florida Boost" blares the front-page headline of The Miami Herald. The state’s leading newspaper observed that it was the endorsement of popular Florida governor Charlie Crist and the votes of Hispanics that put McCain over the top, cementing his status as G.O.P frontrunner. Hispanic voters seemed to appreciate McCain’s more humane and practical approach to immigration reform. Romney was counting on Floridians to vote with their pocketbooks and pick him for his vast business experience and knowledge of the economy. What’s interesting is that the Floridians who voted with their pocketbooks voted for McCain by a margin of 39% to 27% for Romney. If that trend replicates elsewhere, it is the death of hope for Romney’s candidacy. Also, evangelicals split their votes three ways in the republican primary with McCain, Romney and Huckabee each taking about a third. That is very bad news for Huckabee, whose candidacy is built on the evangelical vote. On the democratic side, Hispanics broke in a big way for Clinton. Obama must reverse that trend if he hopes to live beyond Super Tuesday. Look for Teddy Kennedy to add a few "Si! Se Peude!"s to his stump speeches for Obama. Also, last night’s primary marked the grand entrance of the Catholic vote, a good number of whom are Hispanics. According to CNN exit polling, John McCain won the Catholic vote 40% compared to Romney’s 27% and Huckabee’s 2%. Among Catholics who attend Mass regularly, McCain won 35% compared to Romney’s 30%. Among Catholics who voted in the democratic primary, Clinton won over 60% of the vote among both weekly and less frequent Mass-goers. Matt Malone, S.J.

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