Five Things We Learned in Florida

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 1 2012 9:19 AM

Five Things We Learned in Florida

THE SKY --

1) Romney still isn't winning evangelical voters. In South Carolina, 64 percent of voters called themselves "evangelical" or "born again." Gingrich won 45 percent of them, building his lead, and Romney only got 21 percent of them, tying with Rick Santorum. On to Florida, where only 40 percent of voters identified as evangelicals. Romney lost them -- 38 to 36 -- but it just didn't matter. He's still got to sweat the states where it does matter. In Alabama, for example, one of the Super Tuesday states that Gingrich will try to win, 68 percent of 2008 voters called themselves evangelicals. Without reading each and every mind making this decision, we can infer just a little queasiness about Mormonism.

Advertisement

2) It's not just Bill Kristol worrying about this field. Nearly two out of every five GOP voters exited the ballot boxes, picked up their exit poll forms, and scribbled down that they were "unsatisfied" with their choices. That's remarkably lousy! If this turns out to be a short primary, with a lot of pundits paid to talk about stuff but lacking stuff to talk about, there's material here for some more brokered convention/Americans Elect nattering.

3) The Palin and Cain endorsements of Gingrich were basically worthless. Palin, with her trademark combination of haphazardness, pique, and Fox News interviews, spent the week before the primary talking up Gingrich -- voting for him was a vote against "the machine." Herman Cain introduced Gingrich in person on Saturday, and campaigned with him on Monday. The polls picked up no Gingrichmentum from any of this. The exit polls were more clarifying -- voters who decided "in the last few days" broke disproportionately for Rick Santorum, not Gingrich. Santorum, who got 13 percent of the vote statewide, got 22 percent of late-deciders.

4) Rick Perry was a failure of world-historical proportions. On primary day, Rick Perry's extinct presidential campaign released its final donation numbers: $20.1 million. Hours later, he scored 6,742 votes in Florida. How pathetic was this? Four years earlier, in the very same position -- still on the ballot, out of the race -- Fred Thompson won 22,668 Florida votes. So far, adding up all the caucus votes and primary ballots, the Perry campaign (not counting Super PACs) has spent $851.88 per vote.

5) GOP voters: Still bored. Total GOP primary turnout in 2008: 1,949,498. Total turnout this year, before the official count: 1,661,824.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.