When I made my last post on the race in Flordia six days ago, I predicted McCain would win by 10 points but made it clear that that was not my final prediction. I was expecting the race to narrow and even saw the potential of Romney pulling into first place. I think that the endorsement of Governor Charlie Crist (UPDATE: And Sen. Mel Martinez, a Cuban-American who will move a lot of voters among that active Republican voting bloc) for McCain will hold him in the lead and by a fairly comfortable margin.
My final prediction:
In terms of the South Carolina race over the weekend, it seems to me that I had the essence of it right in predicting a clear win for Obama. I was correct to predict a lot of strength for Edwards, however, I underestimated his weaknesses. Indeed, the exit polls reveal that Edwards won non-Black voters over the age of 29 by a margin of 41 to Clinton's 38 with Obama trailing with only 20. Among the full age spectrum of non-Blacks, Edwards still won with 39-37-24. I had routed my prediction in the assumption that Edwards would take 40% of the non-Black vote so I had that right. The shocking figure was the Edwards received only 3% of the Black vote which is what pulled his numbers way down. Talk about a racial divide!
UPDATE: I read a very interesting factoid which could change everything in terms of how things turn out tonight. Apparently, about a third of Florida Republicans have already voted by means of absentee ballots or advanced polls. Until a few weeks ago McCain had zero (paid) organization in Florida. Thirty-plus percent of voters don't vote early on their own; those numbers were driven by organization. I think it would be fair to imagine that the results of the advanced voting could be, roughly, 35 Giuliani, 35 Romney, 15 Thompson (who had a strong organization in the state) and about 5 each for McCain and Huckabee. I am not going to cop out in the middle of the day and attempt to revise a prediction, but, assuming my numbers above (in my original prediction) are correct of the two-thirds of people voting today and that my rough estimate of advanced voters is also correct, today's results would actually be as follows:
Very interesting. If the results do turn out to be about as above, it will just go to show how important organization can be in politics. Today, a plurality of voters may well prefer McCain but, because a few weeks ago that was not true and some folks did some good organizing to get the vote out then, he could place third.