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. Truth

    January 29, 2008 10:01 pm ET
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    January 29, 2008 9:28 pm ET
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    Florida is a HUGE victory for the fine Senator from New York. The Florida 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 Florida (over 1 million got out of there homes and voted!) and God Bless America!

    January 29, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. karen

    As someone who actually lives in FL, I need to put some facts on the record. I just heard CNN refer to "an uncontested Democratic primary in Florida" 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.

    January 29, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Beren

    For whoever pointed out this silly note:

    1. Based on exit polling, 18-29 yr olds made up about 12% of the total vote.

    What do you think the % of people in Florida are 18-29, when the voting age is 18 and there are people over 100 in age? Are their more people 18-29, than there are 30-100+? The Republicans had an even less % of voters 18-29 in age.

    January 29, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Carleen

    I can't believe that you can inflate Obama win in South Carolina by over and over again stating he won over Hillary by 2 to 1, 2 to 1 and not be fare enough to give her the same consideration from her success in Florida over Obama 2 to 1, 2 to 1. Just becuase they Florida decided to vote early doesn't mean she didn't win by a landslide over Obama and voting is about the people being heard not about how much you want to make Obama out to big bigger than he is. CNN has always been objective when did you stop doing that? Give credit where credit is due. This is a great step in the history of women and diserves the same respect.

    January 29, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Gobama

    Ha ha ha!

    The Clintons actively run against NOBODY in Florida and gets only 50% of the votes. lol

    For all those who would brag about the Clintons 'double digit lead' in Florida, let us remind you that there was another candidate from New York who has been enjoying a 'double digit' lead in Florida for a long time.


    The Clintons are winners where there is no contest, winners without being tested, winners without the real thing. lol

    We are taking bets as to when the Clintons will drop out and give up their THIRD TERM bid to soil the Oval Office again. lol

    January 29, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. Amy

    I find it absolutely insulting how Hillary basically snubbed South Caroline where the delegates did matter. She sent Bill there to campaign on her behalf. She only came at the final days and left for Florida. It is all for show with Hillary. I am so glad I have disovered how transparent she is. That is why my vote is on Obama. I need a leader I can believe in. Hillary is in to get Bill back in the White House.

    January 29, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Maine Dem

    Hillary had better be very careful! The way that she and her campaign are going about her march to the November 4th election is underhanded and manipulative. She and her surrogates are causing what could be a historic divide in the party that they claim to love so much.
    While her tactics may get her the nomination, they will certainly make many of us disregard her pleas for help and support. Elections can't be won without "boots on the ground" – it's people like me that they will expect to do the phone calling and door knocking – but I have news for her – she may hear a deafening silence.

    Oh, and by the way – she can't win the general election without the votes from the African American community – and I have hunch that she's burnt her bridges.

    If she wins the nomination I have decided that I will NOT donate one red cent, make a single phone call, or knock on single door on her behalf.

    It's simply shameful...

    January 29, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Frank

    I made up my mind in the last days too! The Kennedy endorsement changed my my from Obama to Clinton.

    I couldn't understand the hypocrasy of the candidate who says he is for change, screaming for change, and saying he is the only person that will change American, yet actively sought and obtained the endorsement and help of all of the old time democratic establishment liberals of past generations and elections.

    I really was confused when liberal Kennedy, Dashcle, Kerry, and the rest flocked to Obama and dissed the more conservative Edwards and Clinton. I think the liberal Kennedy hasbeens (and poor drivers) endorsement will hurt Obama more than help.

    Seems to me Obama actions and the company you keep and beg for, speak louder than stump speeches. Plus how could you accept the endorsement of Kerry? A man who shunned his own running mate, where is his loyalty....shows the caliber of people you seek support from.

    Needless to say, my bubble was burst! I wish Obama had shunned those endorsements, it's very contradictory and hypocritical.

    January 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. laram1969

    zina what does that mean? I give hillary credit. let not make this racial. this is about a different styles and opinions on records and views .. some like obama
    most like hillary.. i can except that can you

    January 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. Just Wait

    Karen, well said ! I totally agree. I am a 25 year old African-African male who is strongly supporting Sen. Clinton! She has the experience to tackle the problems and mess that the next President will inherit. I have no problem rejecting Obama's message and appeal because he is simply not ready, proven, tested and tried. He is not ready to face the challenges we face! No way, No Obama.

    I am all the way with Hillary! NJ WILL VOTE FOR YOU HILLARY ON FEB 5TH!

    January 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. alex@uga.edu

    hillary make a victory speech was ridiculous!!! I guess she won the pagent...after getting on the news about seating florida voters. quick notes: she didnt have a majority; in Michigan she was the only major candidate on the ballot and she barely won!!!

    January 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  12. Ally

    What is happening, in my opinion, is that people are getting too caught up with Obama's oratory skills. Yes, he speaks well, inspires others, lifts spirits, etc., but that is not what is most important. A good speech is not going to provide us with affordable healthcare; a good speech is not going to help the economy, a good speech is not going to help our education system, a good speech is not going to help the environment and global warming. I have no doubt that Obama is a rising star and has a very important role to play in national politics, but that role is not the presidency.

    January 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  13. mommyof3

    To Amy, Kazoo -
    The Michigan delegate situation happened well before the Florida delegate situation, so the candidates had time to remove their names from the ballot in conjunction with their agreement with the DNC. The decision re: Florida came later, so there wasn't enough time for the candidates to remove their names, so they agreed not to compaign there once the decision was made this fall.

    January 29, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. California voter

    If the DNC does not want the Democrats to loose Florida again, they should reinstate the delegates. If they don't, I think they risk having disenchanted Democratic voters voting for a Republican again, and I don't think that should be the goal of the DNC. P.S. And while they are at it, they should also reinstate Michigan's delegates.

    January 29, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. Michael

    First I want to say congratulation to Senator Hillary Clinton on her victory in Florida. Democrat voters came out in large numbers to vote and I think it's 100% wrong that those delegates have been taken away. We are a democracy in the United States and those delegates should be awarded to Hillary Clinton, the voters have spoken and it's wrong not allow the voters to have a say. This was a very dumb move by the DNC to do this Florida, I don't want to see this happen but they are risking voters going out to vote Republican in the national election because of the way they were treated. I also want to add that I thought it was very offensive for the Obama camp to call Hillary's win in Florida a empty victory. I thought that was in very poor taste and it's like saying the voters of Flordia don't matter. Even though this is a different situation it still brings back the memories of the fight for Florida between Bush and Gore and the voters in the end didn't have their voices counted. It's bad enough that most of the media hasn't treated Hillary as kind as they have treated Obama but to not allow the voters in Flordia who came out in record numbers not to have their voices count is a disgrace. I also think it's wrong that this happened in Michigan too. Our great nation is a democracy which means it's wrong leave out anyone. This is a sad day for Democrats in Florida because their voices aren't being allowed to be heard. I just hope that the DNC will come to their senses and award those delegates to Senator Hillary Clinton. Whatever happened to the DNC promise to make sure that every vote counts? This is almost enough to make me consider switching to Independent. I don't like the fact that Hillary Clinton is being cheated out of those votes especially when she is the best choice for President to clean up the Bush mess that has been created.

    January 29, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. S.

    Why in the world would Hillary give a victory speech in FL where votes don't matter yet skip out on South Carolina? Did she give a victory speech in Michigan? I doubt it. She did this for spin and it ain't even working. What a loser.

    January 29, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. j haigh

    Half of all Democrats hate Hillary and all independants and Republicans also hate her. There is no way this lying, deceitful, despicable , and phoney POLITICIAN can win a majority of votes in a general election. Why do we Democrats allow ourselves to snatch defeat from an easy victory with another nominee? One answer – STUPIDITY AND BLIND ALLEGIANCE!!

    January 29, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. Robert

    Mommy of 3

    Fact check. Hillary has been outspoken about the loss of delegates in Michigan and Florida since day 1. She has stated over and over that it is wrong. The only thing she agreed to was to not campain in those states and she didn't. In fact, Obama and Edwards were also against the sanctions imposed.

    January 29, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. Leslie, Summerville, SC

    You cannot deny that more than 3 QUARTERS OF A MILLION PEOPLE who knew they didn't have any delegates went out to VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON ANYWAY! She got more votes without trying that JOHN MCCAIN DID!!! Obama Oschmama Oprahwama......you have to realize that the candidates did as much campaigning in Florida as they have had time to do in Super Tuesday States!!!!! You'll see. Go HILLARY!!!! This is a win. Go home and be quiet. This is huge. Obama has less support in Florida than Clinton has in South Carolina, and I'm from SC, and we all know that when it counts, this state will be RED anyway, so Florida's support for Clinton (hello 2000 election) could prove to be VERY important. WAKE UP DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. Bobby

    Many of you must have a short memory. You are aware that CNN was jokingly referred to as the Clinton News Network for many years because of a perceived adulation and bias toward Bill Clinton, right? How quickly some of you forget, or choose to ignore.

    In addition, speaking of choosing to ignore, look at the exit polls. An overwhelmingly older demographic came out today, which is Hillary's strength. It does not mean an overwhelming victory for Hillary, especially since none of the democratic candidates stumped there.

    Finally, I'm tired of the "Hillary has more experience" argument. Two years is not fundamentally different than six years in the Senate. If you want to argue that Hillary has more experience because of her proximity to Bill's day-to-day activity, fine, but how many previous presidential candidates can claim that? Or any "experience" serving in the executive branch? Exactly.

    You know, the last time we elected an "inexperienced" politician from Illinois, I believe many would say he turned out all right. Perhaps some of you need to brush up on your American history.

    January 29, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  21. Ally

    Delivering a good speech does not mean you are ready to be president. A good speech can inspire and lift spirits, but it will not translate into more jobs, more affordable healthcare, a cleaner environemnt, a better economy, etc. I have no doubt that Obama is a rising star, but he is not yet ready to be President.

    January 29, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  22. GEEEZ from CA

    Geez...Hillary's almost a million strong in FL, and over a quarter million (>271,997 voters) over Obama supporters. Yet, Obama campaigned there in August and September 2007 and ran campaign ads when neither Hillary or Edwards did.

    GO HILLARY 2008!!!!

    January 29, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. Anne

    I think she won in Florida fair and square and should get 1/2 her delegates like the Republicans got. However, there is no justification for her getting the delegates for Michigan, a primary in which hers was the only name on the ballot. Giving her delegates when she was the only name on the ballot is blatantly undemocratic. She should have removed her name from that ballot - that would have shown far more integrity than trying to get credit for a win in a contest where she had no competition - that's just unjust and not a good example of Americanism.

    January 29, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. Antonios

    Hillary, is getting to the point of being called a punk........LOL. She claims victories that they are just don't real!! This woman is as dangerous as Bush. BEWARE>>>>>>>>>>>>

    January 29, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. Pamela

    Do any of the people on this board who cannot spell and come across as illiterate realize that there are first, voters. Then there are Delegates. Without voters, there is nobody for the delegates to represent. Do any of you ignorant people have a clue about who truly will be able to run a country that is in the state it is, both economically and globally, with regard to terrorism. Those of you who continue to focus on the fact that there are no delegates at this time are not seeming to understand that there is something called a "popular vote" that is YOUR vote, in case you don't understand the election system. So I guess you feel that your vote didn't or won't count in your own state, where there ARE delegates.

    You are all so subjective....anyone who blames Hillary for fracturing or dividing the democratic party is beyond ignorant. It takes more than 1 human being to ruin a party hundreds of years old.

    If everyone on this board could just act like an adult and stop criticizing the candidates, and instead be gracious and honest, we might have a more supportive conversation here. But all this bashing of these human beings that are killing themselves to represent us against the republicans, is just unbelievable to me.

    The fact is, Hillary is a sensational politician, like her or not. She is playing hard just like the Republicans do...perhaps extra hard because she wears dresses, not jockey shorts....both men AND women are to blame for ridiculing her for behaving no differently from any other nominee for president at least as long as I have lived. People are highly jealous that this is the woman who is going to transcend what no other woman could....and all the men who believe their " mommies" do not belong in the highest position in the country, are just little boys scared that they are losing their only power over mommy. Yes, this is a very emotional time for men...scary to them, seeing a woman in such a high place. And the women are intimidated by the fact that there is actually a woman who has exceeded anything they could have done in their lives, on the political stage.

    Please, let's all stop this childish behavior, these ignorant comments...people, READ...LEARN.

    January 29, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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