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. JohnS

    KAREN you do NOT LIVE in other states where CNN has been airing the OBAMA ADs. So, please withdraw you sattement; this is exactly how people in FL screw things up in this country. CNN was airing this AD in ALL the MAJOR states. I guess "Birds of the same feathers ofcourse fly together!!!"

    KAREN, again you are wrong. How can anyone go out as a FUND-RAISER without the "appearance" of engaging in a campaign?
    Oops, I forgot, it is like this: "I never had ... with that woman, Ms. Lewisky!!" As a Clinton follower, I expect you to be equally BLIND to your own faults!!!!

    KAREN, you are wrong again. If you have followed these candidates as some of us have, you would be in a better position of swallowing your statements here.. I consistently replay their early VIDEOS (soon to be sent to CNN), Hillary has stolen each MAJOR point put out there by Obama (talk about flip-flopping). Now Obama is very careful NOT to reveal any information to the media except during the DEBATES. Watch the previous debates, Karen, and wake up!!!!

    KAREN, you are wrong again: The media and the people in NH has taken Hillary as their "spoiled baby" since she shed tears in NH. At that time, learned people in IA saw the Clintons just as they– spoilers, liers, cheaters etc.

    KAREN, let me ask you this personal question: Given all the support that BILL is giving to Hillary, will you concede that if she wins, the credit should go to his MAN, Bill for another term as President? I guess people like you believe that Hillary truly represents the core of the women's movement!!! I am glad that African Americans NEVER allowed people like Jackson to lead the movement for minorities in this country!!!

    January 29, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  2. Hooray

    Zina, I'm waiting to hear "she only won because of the white vote" but I don't think I will hear that.

    January 29, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  3. Michael

    Wow, over 1.5 million voters in Florida went to the polls even when told "their votes wouldn't count."

    Let's not forget the fact that total is more than all the voters in all 4 previous contests combined.

    Let's not forget that Obama and Edwards took their names off the "beauty ballot" in Michigan, but not in Florida. Could it be that some folks were certain they would win in SC and that would propel them to a win in Florida?

    Let's not forget that Obama was the only one with television advertisements running in the state.

    I doubt everyone posting on here has had these candidates campaigning in their state yet, but magically we've all been able to make a decision about who to support. So to say that non-campaigning is an issue somehow implies that Floridians are too stupid to make an informed decision based on the same information you've received.

    January 29, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Meredith

    Just a little tid-bit

    CNN did cover the fact that Obama was running ads in Florida. But they also covered the fact that they were NAITONAL ads. That's right Floridians, you aren't the only ones who saw those ads. They were here in NC and I bet they were in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and SC too. That's the point of something being national–it plays everywhere. So, for Obama to say that he is going to run a national advertisement campaign SANS Florida is simply ridiculous–Hillary could have done the same thing if she wanted to.

    Plus, isn't she the one who ignored the democratic party first by leaving her name on the ballot in Michigan? How can you spin that one so Obama is a liar? Yeah, there are two sides to every sword. Just make sure YOU check the facts and don't simply rely on CNN to do it for you and you'll realize that your accusations can pretty much come back incriminate those who you support as well.

    January 29, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. Antonios

    I am as Democrat as anyone can be, but I am voting Republicans if Clinton wins.
    Hell!! I take Bush for another 8 years over her!! White Greek-American. By the way, Europe prays Obama wins...........but who needs allies right?????

    January 29, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Mimi NYC

    Congratulations to Hillary and her team!

    It is scary to think that people would rather choose an inexperienced man over an experienced woman. This nation needs to get over the gender issue, which is no doubt stronger than the race issue. It is obvious that at the subconscious level, many feel that being president of the United States is not the job for a woman.

    It is time we get over it people!

    Let's not forget that it is women like Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria who turned their nation around from near disaster, and instead brought England to its best periods (after the boys left it in shambles). And that was a few centuries ago!

    This is the 21st century. Why can't we be more progressive and acknowledge that a woman is as capable, if not more, than a man to lead this nation out of the darkness? Why are we so afraid?

    It is times like these when a woman can be best fit for the job. It will take the utmost finesse, coolness, relationships and caring for the people, that will help us get out of this mess we are in. And women are best known for these attributes.

    The press needs to get over the Obama honeymoon and start looking closer and ask him for details. Obama talks a nice game (just like George Bush used to do in 2000). Let's get down to specifics people. (The press never put GWBush to the test back in 2000 either.) Are we going to allow the same mistake?

    Anyone can talk idealistic stuff. But can Obama back it up?

    What awaits the next president is fit for someone very experienced and more than ready to take over. Obama IS NOT READY to be president on Day 1 (I don't care what Ted Kennedy has to say). I have no doubt Obama will learn with time. But can we afford that?

    The problems of this world are too serious and severely out of control for someone new to it all.

    Obama is still a Freshman.

    Sorry Obama. I'm not convinced yet. I need more details.

    I don't have to personally like Hillary. I just know she will do a better job.

    Idealism won't get us out of the troubles Bush and his gang have gotten us into.

    Go Hillary!

    Many of us are rooting for you.

    January 29, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. Murry

    Thank you CNN for keeping them honest and exposing Hillary's underhanded tactics in Florida. Why didn't she argue for those Florida delegates early on instead of waiting until the last minute?
    Senator Obama is for real. He has integrity
    Vote Obama 08

    January 29, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. Michael Guthrie

    Wow... sad, sad, sad. You people are being duped so bad. The Clintons' and their advisers are masters of manipulation and you people are playing the best sheep that you can. Baaaaaaaaaaaaa. Baaaaaa. The rest of the world outside America doesn't buy it. Why do you?

    Stop listening to what they say, do your OWN research about the person you hold so dear and make your own INFORMED decision.

    January 29, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Jim ( Independent )

    All you Hillary Lovers must be big Bush supporters.

    January 29, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. Antonios

    Michael.............live your dream pal, I am wondering about your age???? 80+++++ right???????

    January 29, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. Concerned Voter

    I am a John Edwards supporter. I think he is FAR SUPERIOR to both candidates as a Democrat and as a nominee to beat John Mccain in November. However, I believe it is absolutely ridiculous that all you Obama supporters are trying to take this win away from Hillary. If Obama were winning with 50% of the vote you'd all be screaming and jumping around that he "trounced" her just like if Edwards had 50% of the vote I'd be screaming and jumping around about his "thumping" of both the media darlings. However, you have to give Hillary credit. She is going to end up winning over 1,000,000 votes and will end the evening with more votes than the Republican winner John Mccain. She did all that without even campaigning. That's pretty darned significant and all you Obama supporters can't take that away.

    Now that I've said that, please consider John Edwards. He is the one candidate who ACTUALLY HAS IDEAS to change this country in a positive way. Obama gives wonderful speeches about change but just doesn't seem to have any real substance.

    Edwards '08

    January 29, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  12. Jayna

    Dirty tricks unfortunately are a reality in the political arena. The republicans have demonstrated in the past two elections that they will stop at nothing to win. The only way the democrats will be able to take over the white house is to beat them at their own game. The Clintons have clearly demonstrated their ability to do this. Democrats should keep this in mind and vote for Hillary to insure that everything possible has been done to defeat the republicans in 2008. To accomplish this we need the Clintons. It just comes down to that. Also I happen to believe Hillary will make an excellent president!!! I have faith in her. SHE brings HOPE for the country and the well being of all Americans! Maybe the nation needs a mommy figure to nuture us back to health which has been disastrously neglected by the current administration.

    January 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. benjamim

    @ JohnS...Obama had private fundraisers in Florida....get off Karen's case.

    Also, go look up the definition of crying and shedding tears. Even my Mother, a full fledged Republican was impressed with her composure and was angry everyone said she cried or shed tears, because that was NOT crying.

    I give Obama his credit where deserved, Obama supporters give Hillary zero credit. That's a shame, and says a lot.

    January 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  14. John (PA)

    The DNC should have just taken the super delegates away from Florida and Michigan so that there could be a penalty for moving their primary without hurting the voters.

    That said, it would be downright criminal if Hillary were to get delegates from these two states after not having a real election (especially Michigan). She promised not to campaign in those states in order to pander to Iowa and New Hampshire voters and their "first-in-the-nation" status. Now that those primaries/caucuses are over she doesn't care about them and is pandering to Florida. You can bet she wouldn't have said anything about seating those delegates if she was behind in the polls before the primary.

    I never used to understand why so many people dislike Hillary, but it is becoming increasingly clear to me- she will, as is often repeated, "say or do anything to win".

    I think the real problem that needs to be addressed is the entire nomination process. I say make it one day a week for 5 weeks- 10 states at a time. This way more states have a say in it without any candidate being completely out of the race after one day because nobody thought they were viable.

    January 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  15. Pamela

    Meredith, traditionally, national ads are not bought before March, at the earliest. There is a convenience in the exact date that the Obama campaign bought a national ad...that DID include Florida....it was shaded as national to help him win both Florida AND the Super Tuesday vote. So, bottom line is that Obama DID campaign in Florida, even if indirectly..he planned it that way...he approved his campain to buy the time.

    January 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  16. Ingrid

    There is a process for a reason.

    There is a reason for a process.

    To have all states free to conduct primaries whenever those states choose would be a disservice to the candidates and the voters. In this competition to be the first indicator of political opinion you would have 50 states, of all populations, rushing to conduct their primaries on January 1, 2008.

    There is a reason for a process. Smaller states must be given a chance to be introduced to its candidates just as Michigan and Florida.

    There is a process for a reason. I would not object a fair competition of campaigning for candidates. If the states choose to disenfranchise its voters in arrogance for its numbers and importance they must not be recognized as being in compliance for the DNC Convention 2008.

    Florida and Michigan should re-evaluate their priorities. They should be planning a caucus after February 5th in which would put them in compliance and give an opportunity to those candidates who otherwise could have campaigned to their voters!

    January 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. yesstillundecided

    'Clinton TRUMPETS win in FL,' if that headline wasn't slanted enough how about the second paragraph,

    'Her leading rivals, South Carolina primary winner Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John Edwards, did not campaign in Florida. They opted to concentrate on next week's "Super Tuesday" contests in states such as New York, California, Missouri and Georgia.'

    Doesn't that paragraph make it sound as if Clinton did campaign?

    I have decided to watch and surf other network websites that practice more objective journalism.

    January 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. CommonSense

    If you know anything about how television advertising works, you would know that in a national ad buy, you can't remove an ad in one state and and have it run in every other. To do that, you would have to buy "spot" advertising in every market BUT Florida, which would be much, much more expensive. It is clear that Barack honored the spirit of the agreement, and Hillary did not. Ask yourself this question – could you imagine Obama giving a victory speech for a contest that he had agreed would not have a victor? Hillary has no problem with parsing, shading, and fine slicing the truth to meet her desired ends. I want to like Hillary, as she could well be the nominee of my party. She is making that exceedingly difficult in the campaign.

    January 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  19. Sandra

    Clinton won highest in the dementia demographic. A subsection of geriatrics who thought they were voting for Bill.

    January 29, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  20. Jeff, NH

    Vote for Hitlery so we can get a Republican Back in Office....... Thank You to all the Clinton Supporters the GOP is counting on you

    January 29, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. vickiigou

    what this shows is Hillary is the popular vote. As we see the "good ole boys" back Barack, we will probably see more support for Hillary... Getting rid of the "good ole boys" would be a significant change...Funny how Kennedy who has been part of the Problem for 50 years, finally wants change....He is definately part of the problem.

    January 29, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  22. Eddie W.

    I would like to put to rest these comments regarding the South Carolina votes for Senator Obama coming from all Black voters...if I remember correctly he got 24% OF THE WHITE VOTE.... by comparison in IOWA he received some 80% 0f the
    White vote...there is a very small percentage of Black voters in the whole state. Secondly, Senator Clinton does not honor her pledges....think Florida & Michigan..tonight she promised Florida that their delegates would be seated in Aug. The spin was" I did not campaign THERE",but I won the popular vote so I want the delegates. That being the case if she is allowed those delegates,then the Democratic Party can not enforce its` own rules. I give up!
    Thirdly, the press leaves a lot to be desired. To take a photo ,give it a title and flash it around the country and the world is unforgiving. Nobody took a look at the area Senator Obama was standing in OR to ask if him if he was even aware thtat Senator Clinton was there. Comes to be at just that moment he was speaking to someone behind him. AMERICA GIVE THE MAN A BREAK..Are you afraid that he might just WIN.......

    January 29, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. Antonios

    I am sorry to ask? Wasn't Florida that made Bush the president????? Well there you go. This state can really judge!!! However, Hillary still lost about 10% of her power even in Florida..........That's a victory, and remember those retards started voting before they even knew Senator Obama.
    Bunch of New Yorkers who cannot stand the cold in the city............


    OBAMA WILL BE THE PRESIDENT..................................

    January 29, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  24. karen

    JohnS: My 3 statements are factual, the last paragraph is my opinion. Could you state in clear terms which I should retract?

    JohnS: I don't understand the rest of your rant, but I will say that I have watched or listened to nearly every Democratic (and Republican) debate, and Obama's answers usually consist of themes about "change" and "unity", but no facts, no concrete ideas. He is a wonderful orator, and I used to support him (I raised money for him here in FL) until I realized I wasn't hearing anything substantive from him.

    JohnS: Your vitriolic name-calling provides the perfect example of my complaint with the media. Its OK to disparage Hillary with 1000 insults, but we can't even talk about Obama's voting record (or lack thereof) without being called racist.

    JohnS: You sure are "fired up and ready to go". One question: could you please tell me we're going under Obama? I have yet to hear him disclose that. Maybe he will at the last debate this week. But I won't hold my breath.

    January 29, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  25. Ken

    First I want to say that what the DNC did to the Florida voters was totally wrong! Second, What CNN did was as bad as the DNC, along with Obama and dismissing the Florida voters as if they did not count. VERY BIG MISTAKE!

    The Florida voters came out to be heard and I believe that they were heard. Obama is nothing more than a "Pied Piper" without the skills, talents or the experience to become eve a "Rookie President. The American people deserve more. And WE the People, will not stand for it.

    WE WILL all do what we can to get Hillary Clinton, a woman that the skills, talent and experience to bring our country back to one that ALL AMericans can be proud of.

    The DNC should be concerned that they will end up losing a lot of Democrats to Independents if they go ahead and not give Michigan and Florida their delegates. I will be one of them that they will loose and any and all that I can change as well.

    Hillary Clinton is the VERY BEST PERSON to be our next President. Also the only one that can be sure to take out the Republican Candiate who ever it may be.

    January 29, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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