John McCain beat Mitt Romney by eight points in Pinellas County and six points in Pasco County on his way to a statewide victory Tuesday. McCain’s wins in those two counties, which many analysts suggested would be a barometer of his overall success, pretty much mirrored his 36-31% win over Romney statewide (Map 2).
McCain won 45 of Florida’s 67 counties, which is a well-balanced rout. But more importantly, he posted victories in three crucial areas: He did well in the military-laden Panhandle, where he tied Mike Huckabee for Evangelicals. He also won most of the I-4 Corridor, including big victories in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
But McCain dominated in Southeast Florida. He won Palm Beach County by 9,000 votes, Broward County by nearly 17,000 and Miami-Dade by a whoppin’ 35,000 (Map 3). According to CBS News exit polls reported by Politico’s Jonathan Martin, McCain was buoyed by strong support in the Latino community, which cast half of its votes for him (Map 4).
Romney ran poorly with Latinos, although he did win 40 percent of conservatives and over a third of Evangelicals, which was the most of any candidate for both demographic groups. Romney also ran well in the retirement communities along the Gulf Coast, including Lee and Collier Counties. He swamped McCain by 12,000 votes in Duval County (Jacksonville), which I have to admit I don’t really understand (Map 5).
Rudy Giuliani won over a quarter of the vote and finished second in New York’s southern outpost of Miami-Dade, but it was not enough to push him above 15 percent statewide (Map 6). Interestingly, Mike Huckabee won four counties – Holmes, Washington, Gilchrest and Suwanee – but they were small, rural counties in the North, and the former Arkansas governor came in fourth (Map 7).
Map 1 – Florida Population Density
Map 2 – Florida Republican Electoral Map (Washington Post)
Map 3 – John McCain in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 4 – Latinos in Florida — The more purple counties have higher percentages of Latinos.
Map 5 – Mitt Romney in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 6 – Rudy Giuliani in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 7 – Mike Huckabee in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 8 – Republican Margins of Victory in Florida (New York Times) — Note that the colors are different.
On the Democratic side, the Billary machine celebrated a 50-33% win over Barack Obama even though the delegates will likely not be seated at the DNC convention. Clinton took 48 of Florida’s 67 counties, including every one south of Gainesville. Obama racked up big margins in heavily African-American counties like Duval and Leon, the home to FAMU (Maps 9-11).
John Edwards won a respectable 11 counties and placed second in 15. But as a testament to how rural those counties are, he ended up only taking 14 percent statewide, and was prompted to drop of the race Wednesday morning (Map12).
My theory on Edwards is that his departure helps Obama in states like California, where voters on tuned in the race and understand Edwards “progressive” ideas. But it hurts Obama in rural states like Georgia and Missouri, where white many voters still see Edwards as the down-home Southern candidate, and are not likely to support Obama.
Map 9 – Florida Democratic Electoral Map (Washington Post)
Map 10 – Hillary Clinton in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 11 – Barack Obama in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 12 – John Edwards in Florida (Washington Post)
Map 13 – Democratic Margins of Victory in Florida (New York Times)