Florida: Economy Shadow

Economy Casts Heavy Shadow Over Florida Primary
GOP Electorate Moves Further Right: Conservatives Account for Six in Ten

Jan. 29, 2007 —

The number of conservatives voting in today's Florida Republican primary ticked up again this election cycle, and most of them showed up at the polls this year with the economy on their minds.

If these preliminary exit poll results hold, the GOP electorate will have moved further right since 1992, when about half described themselves as conservative. This year, conservatives accounted for six in 10 voters. Fewer than half of voters -- about four in 10 -- consider themselves evangelicals.

The economy is by far the top issue -- just about half said so in these preliminary results. That's double the next highest priorities, terrorism and illegal immigration. Though more than six in 10 expressed positive feelings about President Bush, about as many said the nation's economy is not going well.

Slightly more Republicans were looking for a candidate who shared their values, as opposed to one who has the right experience. But more than half said the candidates' positions on the issues was more important than their personal qualities.

GOP voters are overwhelmingly white -- more than in eight in 10 of them. More than half the voters are male, slightly higher than in the last two Florida primaries. Hispanics account for about one in 10 voters; just over half of them are Cuban, about what they've been in the past.
More than half said illegal immigrants should be offered citizenship or given temporary worker status. Somewhat fewer, around four in 10, said they should be deported.

But this race may not be captivating seniors as much as in the past. They appear to be turning out in a slightly smaller proportion to the rest of the vote when compared with 2000, when they were about four in 10.

Just over a quarter of the voters were veterans.

Change Sought By Florida Democrats

On the Democratic side, about half of all Democratic voters identified themselves as political liberals, up from past Florida primaries.

As in previous primaries, delivering change was the top quality sought by Florida Democrats, according to these preliminary results. Just under half said it mattered most to their vote, about double those who said they were looking for experience.

If preliminary results hold, women will have made up slightly more of the Democratic vote than in 2004, and black voters will have made up slightly less.

Democrats are even more downbeat on the economy than Republicans, with more than nine in 10 saying the economy is not going well. And more than half ranked the economy as the issue that most determined their vote. A quarter named the war in Iraq, and somewhat fewer said health care.

Most Democrats also expressed displeasure at the tenor of the campaign so far, with three-quarters saying at least one of the candidates had launched unfair attacks. But whoever wins, they believe he country is ready for either a woman or a black president.

ABC News' Richard Morin and Patrick Moynihan contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

No comments: