January 29th, 2008
08:26 PM ET
14 years ago

Exit polls: Clinton wins late deciders

(CNN) - Democratic primary voters in South Carolina who made their presidential pick in the week before voting overwhelmingly chose Barack Obama. In Florida, according to exit polls, those last-minute deciders went for Hillary Clinton.

All the major Democratic candidates had pledged not to campaign in Florida following national party sanctions that rendered the contest irrelevant to the presidential nominating process. None of the candidates have visited, except for private fundraisers, and none have advertised in the state.

But over the past few days, the Clinton campaign called for the Democratic National Committee’s decision not to seat Florida’s delegates at the party’s summer convention to be reversed; announced several major state endorsements, like U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson; and revealed plans for a major election night celebration in the state featuring a visit from Hillary Clinton herself – all factors which may have helped sway late-deciding voters.

Among all voters who made their decision in the last three days (including those who made their decision today), 37 percent went for Clinton and 34 percent went for Obama in early exit polls.

Among voters who made their decision on Election Day, the gap was even larger: 35 percent supported Clinton, 31 percent John Edwards, and 27 percent Obama. When those last minute-deciders are removed from the equation, Obama regains a 5-point edge over Clinton among just those voters who made their decision over the weekend, 45 to 40 percent.

The votes in Florida will not count towards the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Exit Polls • Florida
soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. An Iowan who wishes . . .

    I am an Iowan who wishes we'd been able to "get it right" like Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire. As a precinct captain and campaign volunteer for Hillary, at least I can say MY precinct knew what we were doing when we overwhelmingly stoofd for Hillary. : )

    I love what "concerned voter" said. If Obama had won Florida, the news would be full of comments like: 'Obama routs Clinton' or 'Obama rides the momentum.' It is so biased it's actually laughable. During the NH and Nevada primaries or caucuses, when Hillary would be 4% ahead with a few precincts reporting, the reporters would say, "It's too close to call." When Obama was 4% ahead in Iowa or SC, a landslide victory was predicted.

    Anyway, I am glad Florida, Nevada, and NH got it right when Iowa couldn't. I guess we'll have to stick with what we do well – growing corn in the summer and turning out frigid temps in January.

    Go Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  2. DonI

    people please. Hillary does not need Florida to win the nomination. California and New York will do the trick. Her point on all of this is that the democratic party needs Florida and Michigan in the general election to win the white house. Hillary leads in Super delegates and she will cinch the deal next Tuesday.. May want to save up your venom for then. Guess you will down play those states importance also.

    Florida proves one thing. Obama is not as strong as you want to think and not everyone is fooled by his retoric.

    January 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. Gobama

    The Clintons certainly know how to shatter their status.

    Right before our eyes, the Clintons are becoming tragic figures.

    In an election that is meaningless, the Clintons will declare 'victory'. What self delusion.

    If feel pity for Clintons' supporters who are willing to also lower themselves.

    January 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. Robert, Tulsa OK

    If you don't win, change the rules. Sounds like a Republican to me.

    Besides, even with her "fundraisers" in the state, issues on the ballot to favor her supporters, promises to try to allow the delegates from the state despite the state's violation of party rules, and Obama following the rules, her win is STILL smaller than his win in SC.

    January 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. Brent J. Cohen

    While Hillary's recent comments in regards to Florida may not be considered traditional campaigning, they were yet another example of the Clinton camp using underhanded win-at-all-costs strategies. Clinton was trampled in South Carolina, and immediately afterwards began stressing the importance of Florida. She vowed to fight for delegates from Florida to attend the Democratic National Convention, and she planned a trip to Florida the same night as the primary. Not campaigning? Hillary repeatedly stressed the “importance” of Florida despite the fact that the Democratic Party specifically stated that no candidates should campaign, and no delegates will count. What nerve Clinton has to go against her own party – not just other candidates. AND YET, it is not surprising. In fact, this has become a pattern …

    Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate not to remove her name from the Michigan primaries, despite the fact that the Party agreed not to support the Michigan primaries. It was quite a victory for Clinton – against UNCOMMITTED!!

    In Nevada, Hillary supporters brought a lawsuit to have voting places removed from the caucus despite the fact that ALL DEMOCRATIC candidates had agreed to them months earlier. Why? Because the candidate who appeared to benefit from the polling stations was someone other than herself.

    Hillary Clinton is willing to win-at-all-costs, and it is despicable. She is using underhanded, brilliantly-masterminded strategies to STEAL the nomination. Somebody else stole an election this decade TWICE … who was it? Oh that’s right, George W. Bush.

    I am disgusted by Hillary Clinton’s continued willingness to deliver low-blows to the other Democratic candidates. Her tactics reveal the selfish motivation behind her candidacy, and frankly, bring into question her loyalty to the Democratic Party.

    January 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. observer

    CNN needs to think about all the people of Fla. that may just decide CNN don't count either if they don't give Hillary coverage.That's alot of people! We are so tired of Obama riding under this media protective sheild. More coverage of his endorsements than the real story of the day, his involvement with Rezko. Why give real news when you're so busy slamming Hillary? She will prevail.

    January 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. linda, OKC OK

    FL= 0 delegates

    Eat that, Billary!

    January 29, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  8. Mike

    We don't need Billary Clinton; the same woman who denied permission for the Marine security guards to wear their uniforms while she was in the White House.

    We don't need a foul mouthed holier than thou anti military Democrat in the White House deciding the fate of this nation. GOD HELP US!!!!!!

    Mitt Romney says in part:

    "The idea that she would be a credible commander-in-chief of our armed forces requires the willing suspension of disbelief."

    January 29, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. Gerald

    I guess experience override honesty and truth. Can anyone truly say that Hillary can be trusted?
    The DNC decided to disenfranchise Florida voters not Obama or Hillary. If Hillary was so against it, why did she not speak up when it matter versus waiting until now? I know why, because she only supports things when it is in her favor. I want a president that will support me when it does not always benefit him or her.
    Tonight is McCain’s night.

    January 29, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. Duane Gaylord

    I am not a Hillary supporter, but, I think most of the chair political wannabees who analyze all that is going on, simply have it all wrong. Sen. Kennedy's endorsement of Obama is a negative for Obama and the Democratic party. That endorsement has the real chance of loosing democratic votes and sending the middle of the democratic votes to the otherside, the Republicans. The middle of the democratic party does not want the radical liberal hate politics that Sen. Kennedy brings into the picture. If McCain wins, the middle of the Democratic party WILL defect to McCain who is nearly a democrat anyway. This win by Hillary, in spite of the momentum of Obama's recent victories, shows that Sen. Kennedy did not have an effect on a very liberal state as Florida. If you ask me, Kennedy is helping Hillary and if I am correct, the more Teddy goes on the stump for Obama, the more Obama will be stumped. Hillary, because of her husband's influence, has learned to play to the middle of the democratic party, which kept President Clinton in office for 8 years. Hillary, by far, has the greatest talent to beat McCain and is better positioned politically to do so. The smooth, eloquent acting, honey talking Obama is causing people to have a pipe dream that will blow out like a candle in the wind. Americans will eventually take a deep breath and come to their senses and see all the fluff and form only that makes up Obama.
    I am sure he is a good man, even though he acted childish when snubbing Hillary at the State of the Union, a real example of his inability to represent Americans to outside nations. How would Obama respond as our head of state to nations that disagree with America, snub them. God help us.

    January 29, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. DirtyPoliticsAgainforClinton

    I don't think that America will put the Clintons back in office. If for some reason Hillary ends up with the Democratic nomination, it will be only because of Bill's dirty politics.

    Look back over just the last few weeks: lawsuit in Nevada over caucus sites, closing caucus doors early, tears for Hillary in New Hampshire, the ugliest campaign I've ever seen in South Carolina, finger wagging angry tyrades, dividing the country between black/white voters, Hill-Bill-A-Ry going to Florida campaigning...the NOW NY branch declaring Ted Kennedy doesn't like women voters...trying to change rules that the DNC declared for Michigan and Florda. Scorch and burn BillyBoy, the devil himself must be at your heels to make you such a miserable human being.

    Many of us haven't forgotten the headlines about BillyBoy 's sexual escapes in the Oval office blaring on the 6:00 news when we were seated with our children at the dinner table. He turned the White House into the "House of Shame".

    Bill Clinton is playing this country like a cheap fiddle.

    I listened to one of Bill's (and I do mean HIS) campaign speeches where he declared "were're back". I say NO you aren't back yet and if the American PEOPLE have any say in it you won't be. NO MORE CLINTONS. If anyone doesn't believe Bill Clinton isn't running for his third term, you haven't opened your eyes.

    January 29, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Truth

    January 29, 2008 9:28 pm ET
    Florida is a HUGE victory for the fine Senator from New York. The Floridia speaks volume as it is very diverse and the population is significant. Hillary Clinton beat her challengers by more than 200,000 ! If this is not huge I don't kno what is. And to think the candidates did not campaign, well only Obama did by running tv ads.

    I am glad the people have spoken and I hope this trend continues come Super Tuesday! I am looking forward to my state (New Jersey) giving the victory to Clinton !

    God Bless Floridia (over 1 million got out of there homes and voted!) and God Bless America!

    January 29, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. Keivn

    Every vote counts and every voter has to be heard. This is a comment for those Obama-maniacs who want to disfranchise millions of voters since he did not win.

    January 29, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. JohnS

    Those who are referring to the Obama AD in Florida are truley ignorant!!!!! This is very serious; most of these people are so ignorant it makes some of us SICK

    The AD is by CNN; this AD is running is almost ALL the states. I am avid viewer of CNN and have been seeing this AD since SC.

    Wake up people; other nations truly and correctly laugh at us in the US because most of us are so uninformed, ignorant.. you name it!!!

    When I run into so many dumb ones on university campuses, I think the public might be better off!!! But events like this one, and the cheering for Hillary tells me that some of the people out there are equally ignorant and quite uneducated!!! God Bless us all...

    Perhaos the state of Florida wsould simply stay out of this process, given that they simply DO NOT FOLLOW BASIC, I MEAN BASIC RULES!!!

    This will come back to hunt the Democrats as the Republicans will use this so-called win of Hillary against them in the general election:


    January 29, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Sandy

    Shame on you CNN for not posting my comment. What you don't want the people to know the real truth about how Florida lost their delegates?? How the republicans voted not to move the primary back so they wouldn't get penelized. How the republicans outnumbered the democrates on that vote 2 to 1? And how the republicans gave them 1/2 their delegates but gave the democrates none? You CNN people are so republican it stinks. I hope Hillary wins and strips you of your tax breaks.

    January 29, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. cathy

    Obama had national ads in that aired in Florida, just as they have aired in Vermont (even tho election here over a month away). These were approved by the DNC. Why are Hillary supporters always such sore winners.

    January 29, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. magda

    Hillary Clinton won FLORIDA. HALF A MILLION VOTERS DO count. if the DNC does not allow floridians votes counted in DENVER. then thedemocrat party do not deserve to have florida voters come election day. I will stay home because my vote has no meaning to the democrat DNC if they disenfranchise the delegates.

    January 29, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Ben

    Hillary is a joke. I am a life long democrat, but if Hilliary is on the democratic ticket, I will vote republican.

    Go any body but HillBilly!

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Liz

    I live in SC...I voted for hillary....I will say this... local reporters were out poll pushing for Obama....not legal if you ask me. the primary ...is over here and he is still running ads on cable...why??? CNN is running his ads...I don't get it ...I do feel like they are trying to ram Obama in are face....I'm not buying what he is selling .....he can keep his snake oils and the kennedys.. The voting people of Florida have TVs and Computers....the can hear all they want about Obama....I think they voted to prove a point....they want Hillary ae and all she was say Thank You....Obama's Camp talked about them like they were a joke....we will see who will have the last laugh

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Tim

    Its, good to see that the Florida votes counts more than a a beatuy contest. Florida's voices was heard loud and clear.

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  21. Katherine

    I am amazed that I am saying this, but apparently the Republicans care more about Florida than the Democrats do. Yes, the primary was moved up. Yes, both conventions decided to punish Florida (which I find insulting). But the Republicans just cut the delegate count in half. The Democrats, who may possibly need Florida in November, have decided to disenfranchise the state.

    I think the Democratic party needs to learn a lesson from the Republicans.

    If Obamba really were concerned with people and not "politics as usual" I would imagine that he would support giving the people voice. Wasn't it he who said "even if you are in the minority, you should stand up for what's right." Is that only when it benefits you?

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  22. Definitely Hillary

    Like it or not, HILLARY WON FLORIDA and she'll ride the momentum to Super Tuesday. No wonder Obama snubbed her, he acted like a loser already!

    Definitely Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. M&Ms from CA

    Lilia, you are correct. Obama had campaign ads running all along.

    The editor also forgot to mention that Hillary has tried instituting the FL delegates since a year ago when the DNC first opted to remove them. It is not new, and I think Hillary is absolutely 100% correct on insisting that the FL delegates get counted, because without FL, NO Dem can win the general election. Have we forgotten the 2000 Election?

    Finally, what this election does prove, & mind you it IS still an election in FL with or without delegates awarded, is that HILLARY IS the MOST Electable candidate! With 76% of precints reporting, Hillary leads by over 255,000 votes over Obama in FL (50% to 33%).

    GO HILLARY 2008!!!!

    BTW, When Ted Kennedy comes later this week, trust me he will NOT persuade any Latino to vote for Obama, especially when Hillary was endorsed by Caesar Chavez's Son. Latinos in CA and the West will NEVER forget the lagacy of Mr. Chavez, he was the civil rights leader of the Latino-American population in the early 70s.

    Moreover, in Northern CA, amongst the nation's most well-educated population, Hillary holds a strong lead. That's where I'm from!

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. joseph

    where's the reports on the counties results for the democrats, this is vital information:

    Hillary has had:

    46 1st place finishes
    16 2nd place finishes
    2 3rd place finishes

    Edwards has had:

    11 1st place finishes
    14 2nd place finishes
    41 3rd place finishes

    Obama has had: (despite all the media on him with Oprah, tv, and violating the pledge by placing commericals in the media about himself, and the debates and he goes out crying that people dont know him, what does he want, more attn?)

    7 1st place finishes (less then Edwards)
    36 2nd place finishes
    23 3rd place finishes

    I think this shows the REAL winner! Hillary's won most of the demographics.

    Hillary 08!

    January 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  25. Voting No For Hillary

    If there is one intelligent Hillary supporter please explain her 35yrs experience, her scandals and why are her 35yrs of experience sealed in the Clinton library.

    January 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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