United States

Florida primary key to success


The Florida primary for the Republican party takes place today and will be a key indicator as to who will win the presidential nomination.

There are four candidates still in the running, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, but realistically only Romney and Gingrich have any chance of winning.

This is a closed primary, which means that it is open only to registered Republicans. It is also notable because it is the first state this year with a more multicultural population; there are large Hispanic and Jewish communities in the state. Whoever wins the state gets all 50 of the delegates for the August Republican Convention – there is no prize for second place.

The winning candidate for the convention must be able to hold 1,144 delegates tickets at the convention. Just to show how far there is still to go, Romney is the leader at the moment with 34 delegates, Gingrich has 27, Paul has 10 and Santorum has eight.

There are 4,063,853 registered voters for this primary and most commentators are expecting about two million to vote. Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

Following the shock of South Carolina, Romney has taken no chances and has upped his game. He has outspent Gingrich by roughly 5 to 1 and has launched a blistering negative television and radio advertising campaign. Romney was also the clear winner in two televised debates last week.

All of this has led to Gingrich stumbling in the opinion polls. According to a Quinnipiac University poll Romney is on 43% of the vote to Gingrich’s 29%. Another poll for ABC News-Marist poll Romney is on 42% and Gingrich on 27%. Either poll shows a commanding lead for Romney.

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