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. WOW

    Florida: The state that disenfranchised 1.5 million of its own voters by not following the rules. All they had to do was have their primary on the date that they were supposed to.

    Everyone is accusing each other but no one is asking the right questions.

    Why did Florida decide to break the rules?

    We all know that their vote is very important in the general election. And they know it also.

    So if they knew the rules and the penalty of the rules why did they break the rules?

    It's my opinion that if they really valued the "Democrat's" votes then they wouldn't have broken the rules.

    It's no Obama's fault, Clinton's fault, or the DNC's fault. It was Florida's fault. It's like someone in Florida is determined to keep Florida as a "RED"state. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be.

    Let's not forget, Florida has a history of disenfranchising it's own voters.

    January 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  2. JP

    Calling us...Floridian voters a "beauty contest" Obama, shame on you! We'll see at the end of day if our votes count or not! Go Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. Gobama

    People, people, people, blaming the National Democratic Party for this Michigan and, Florida debacle AGAIN is like blaming hanging chads for Al Gore's defeat in 2000.

    All this trouble from Florida AGAIN is another chance for Democrats to skillfully snatch yet another defeat from the jaws of victory.

    The Florida Democratic Party is PART of the National Party.
    The ignoring of Florida's delegates was a DEMOCRATIC decision taken by the national party, of which the Florida Democratic Party is a part.

    It is the LEADERS of Florida who let down their democratic followers in the state, prevented campaigning in Florida, and cause Florida's votes to be essentially MEANINGLESS!

    And the self-absorbed and power-hungry Clintons are again MISLEADING Floridians about the seating of Florida's delegates. It ain't going to happen!

    January 29, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  4. laram1969

    Now I respect H.Clinton and the victory she just worn. I just don't beleive that if they were both allowed to campaign it would be a little closer than it is now. She probablay would have won but a close contest, no doubt about it.

    go bbbbbbarack , go hilllllary ! lets see who will win this fight for the presidency of the united states. As long as it ain't no stickin republican!

    January 29, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. Baffled

    2 little notes to everyone saying Clinton thumped Obama.

    1. Based on exit polling, 18-29 yr olds made up about 12% of the total vote
    2. Republicans out voted Dems 2-1 in this primary, first time that's happened this primary season.

    Don't underestimate the % increase campaigning would have made, especially for Obama, who has shown in every primary so far an uncanny ability to bring out not only the youth vote, but also the first time voters. For now though, Gratz to Hillary

    January 29, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. Beren

    A win over UNDECIDED is a combined victory against Obama AND Edwards.366666

    CNN, why are you letting Mike spam the boards?

    How can Obama supporters deny what over 1.5 million voters decided? They are only sighing RELIEF that there are no delegates there, and to throw that in a Clinton supporters face is sad. Those are your fellow citizens you are spitting on.

    It's delusional to think that the voters in Florida don't know who the candidates were before this vote took place. Do they live in rocks?

    If the people VOTE for Clinton after it was already Bush, Clinton, Bush, IT WAS THERE VOTE!! That is Democracy. I'm not going to choose a poor, underqualified candidate who gets shoved down my throat, I'm going to pick who I think is best. (Who was GORE by the way...)

    Does anyone remember in the 90's when the role of the 1st lady was questioned, because Hillary redefined it by being the most active 1st lady since Eleanor Roosevelt?

    January 29, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "well Rebecca Sinderbrand
    U guys are trying to make her look like a winner right? she is a looser… trust me Bush is much better than her"

    A steaming pile of feces would be better than Bush the traitor and criminal, and of course, Worst. President. Ever.

    I think Mitch has either (1) been in a coma, or (2) is Jeb Bush in disguise.

    January 29, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Zina

    Will there be the same outrage at whites for voting for Hillary in Florida as there was at people of color voting for Obama in South Carolina? I don't see that here.

    January 29, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. bannon

    Obama can never win over John McCain. Why do democrats will vote for him? super tuesday he will loose big time. He says he will get change in washington but what change will he get that former 41 presidents couldn't get. how will he do it? i never seen any answers towards that change

    Clinton is next president

    January 29, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. votehillary2008

    The Obama-spin on this is laughable.

    Popularity contest, doesn't count, blah, blah, blah

    All elections are popularity contests. The point is despite everything that happened this weekend, Floridans went to the polls, even though they knew their votes didn't count, and considered it important enough to throw their support behind Sen. Clinton. They weren't deterred by South Carolina, Ted Kennedy, the media lies, Obama spin, etc.

    It's also worth nothing there is still a racial split. This does not bode well for Obama. Of course, this may change, but you can bet the Obama camp is nervous.

    January 29, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. Young Liberal

    Bottom line is Florida has a lot of older voters. Older voters tend to support Hillary.

    Obama 08

    January 29, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Amy, Kazoo

    so for real...does ANYONE know why Obama and Edwards removed their names from the ballot here in MI but left them on in FL? where neither state was awarded their democratic delegates? I'm just trying to make sense of the disparity. I really want to know why so if anyone can help me out, I'd much appreciate it. thanks

    January 29, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. Robert

    National ads are no excuse. Clinton and Edwards both held off on their national ads until Michigan and Florida voted.

    January 29, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "Congrats to Billary on winning NOTHING!!! "

    Why, g-man, you pathetic hysteric: Hillary won the popular vote. She did it despite all of the media beating up on her while crowning Obama the King after a win in South Carolina.

    In fact, on CNN, they acted as if they were sorry they even had to report the Dem side of Florida – one witch I'd like to smack kept repeating, "It means nothing! It means nothing!" like a deranged Munchkin.

    It means the Florida voters by a huge margin prefer Hillary over Obama. THAT'S what it means, dummies.

    January 29, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Jessica

    DNC's decision to omit delegates from the FL primary is yet another example of this party's need to self-destruct! What will they do for the REAL ELECTION? Dump all the FL votes?

    As for the few female bloggers here who feel compelled to spread Right Wing misconceptions about "WITCH HILLARY", please expose yourself to BOTH SIDES of the story before jumping on the "Ditch the Witch" train!

    For those people who claim to be "disappointed" with the style of Clinton campaigning, PUT A SOCK IN IT! Aren't you frustrated by continued Democratic losses?

    Unlike typical Democrats who are happy to repeat the familiar ineffective behaviors that lose elections, Hillary and Bill Clinton learn by watching the winners. If they behave "like Republicans", as they have been accused of doing, lately, they are doing what it takes to win an American election in 2008. You cannot change the world when you continue to lose your elections!

    Congratulations to HIllary Clinton on her win tonight and for continuing to do what SHE believes is necessary for her to win the Presidency in 2008!

    January 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. Dem08

    You people have no clue about whats going on. You have accused Clinton of almost everything and none of its true. Her point about the delegates is being taken out of context. She just said, if she is the nominee, she will try and seat the delegates, She does not need those delegates to win the nomination. You are all misleading what she is doing, and what she is saying.

    The point is she won, with no campaiging and people made their choice. Live with it.

    January 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  17. Zina

    I do hope that the Hillary supporters see that she has divided the democratic party. We will not vote for her in good conscience if she wins the nomination. We see the truth.

    Obama '08

    January 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. Robert

    GoBama you are wrong. Bill Crist the republican governer of Florida and his republican legislature was responsible for changing the date of the primary. The Democrats of Florida had absolutely no say in the matter.

    January 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  19. karen

    As a voter who actually lives in FL, I need to put some facts on the record, since CNN has published and aired outright lies. I just saw CNN refer to Florida's "largely uncontested Democratic primary", and quote Robert Gibbs of the Obama campaign (as if it were truth), stating that Obama never campaigned in FL. This is not just media favoritism, but an outright lie.

    (1)Obama ran a very high profile campaign in Florida until September. I should know, I was on the host committee for a campaign event in August that drew over 1000 people and got local news coverage in South Florida on every channel. He held rallies across the state.

    (2) Neither Hillary nor Obama personally campaigned in FL after the pledge. Yet Hillary won the black vote in FL.

    (3) When CNN asked Obama last night to explain one instance in which his campaign differed from Hillary's, Obama said there were no substantive differences, except that he "could unite the country." I bet Hillary would beg to differ and could cite a variety of issues where her platform differs, if she were asked by CNN.

    I am appalled by how the media has chosen Obama as its darling, never airing a foul word about him or questioning his voting record, while trying to make Bill into a racist and denying Hillary well-deserved airtime. If the media instead moved on to more substantive issues, such as the fact that we are entering an economic depression (not just a recession), maybe voters would realize that although it makes us feel warm and fuzzy, we simply don't have the luxury of electing a community organizer with zero foreign policy or economic experience right now.

    January 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. Cindy

    I have always been a huge fan of CNN..as a Florida voter I am furious at them for completely discounting our vote. Anderson Cooper just commented snidely that "isnt it interesting that Hillary Clinton did not want to speak to us last night but wants to speak to us tonight after her so-called win ".Her "so-called win". Over a million and a half of us Florida Democrats voted today. That is more Democrats than all of the other previous primaries combined. By the way, I like Obama and would certainly support him 110% if he were to become the nominee BUT......I have been seeing Obama commercials all week. Haven't spotted a single Clinton or Edwards commercial though, also Hillary did not campaign here-she came tonight AFTER our polls closed. Let's give credit where credit is due. Bottom line, whichever of them becomes the candidate..ALL of us Democrats need to get behind them. The alternative..4 more years of the Iraq War and all the rest of other horrid Republican policies. Get a grip Demos..we can't let the media split our party to improve their ratings.

    January 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Zina

    It's clear that the white voter support of Hillary in FL will NOT be questioned like the African-American support of Obama in SC.

    January 29, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Texans4Change!

    What BIG win in Florida?? Liar again... I thought that she wasn't going to Florida. Changed her mind after SC? Fact is, Obama is frustrating her and she knows that she will really need Florida and their votes. The woman should be encouraging following the rules. Didn't she sign a pledge? Does her word mean anything? Come on, I doubt she genuinely cares about anythingI'm sure we'll see her for the next few days on her throne ready to take her "crown". After all, she feels she's "entitled" to the office because Bill has the accomplishments. The woman talks more about his accomplishments than hers. She is qualified on Day 1 because she earned experience being First Lady! Too much.. Talking about being specific.. Well, at least her supporters can encourage her to be honest. I am sick of the Clintons and their slash and burn politics! We have had enough..Sure the other spouses are advocates for their spouses, but they don't stoop to the level of Bill (thank God he's the former Pres) No other candidate's spouses have been as offensive and willing to discredit anyone's character as BClinton has been. And, I believe Elizabeth and Michelle appear to be faithful and deeply committed to their marriage vows, their husbands and their families. Bill is an angry old WM who will do anything to win! Please....Nothing what so ever could ever make me vote for anyone who is willing to win at any cost like Billary.
    It's time to move on... Keep them out of the White House! It's time for a real change....Send them back to ARK/NY!!!

    Stay out of the Bushes and no more Clintons!

    January 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. Randy - GA

    I can live with any of the 3 democratic candidates. I am a bit frustrated with TV media and how they are playing ratings with this election.

    CNN is doing it again. Had Obama carried FL that would have been their headline. Instead the "Worst Political Team on Television" won't even acknowledge that Hillary carried FL.

    In the end no candidate spent time in the state so they all had an equal footing. Instead of looking at what FL said in support of Clinton they wrote if off like it did not happen. Once again if Obama carried FL they would be all over the demographics and spending hours talking about how great he is.

    I think it is time for CNN to be honest. Just come out and endorse Obama and we can all see where you are coming from.

    I look foward to this being over so I can have my news station back again. It would be nice if CNN would push back from the table and see how biased they are toward Obama. In the meantime I will go get a good book and wait for this all to be over.

    I have already voted in early voting in GA.

    Good luck to all 3 remaining democratic candidates.

    January 29, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. mommyof3

    Okay - I'm getting really annoyed.

    Hillary R. Clinton AGREED WITH the DNC's decision about the delegates MONTHS AGO.

    It wasn't until the delegate race became close that she decided to SUE the DNC and posture to make it appear that she "cares" about the citizens of Florida. What she cares about is the large number of delegates. Doesn't anyone do their research on these blogs??? Same thing happened in Michigan, except Hillary was the only candidate that did not remove her name from the ballott - even after she told her fellow candidates that she would as a sign of "solidarity" with the DNC. The other candidates requested removal. At the last minute, she did not. Therefore, on primary day her name was the ONLY ONE on the ballot Crafty. Dishonest.

    I am from Michigan and THOUSANDS decided to vote "uncommitted" rather than vote for her, because Michiganders KNEW what she did was wrong. This FL delegate issue was resolved LAST YEAR. Her tactics are completely unfair. Typical example of "politics as usual".....amazing that some are buying it.

    ...And I was once an avid Clinton supporter. What a turn off.

    January 29, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. Christiaan, Norman, OK

    Does anyone else thinks it's funny that Clinton only got half of the votes in a state in which she was unopposed? How can she call it a victory when half of the people who even bothered to vote in this primary voted "not Clinton?"

    I also hasten to add that in a three-way race, that is with TWO other people running, Obama got 55% of the vote.

    If this is a victory for Clinton, then hooray for losing!

    GObama '08!!!

    January 29, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
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