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. Linda Nelson

    That FloriDUH comment really pi**ed me off CATHY, just like when the sneaky Bush camp fudged our votes to get in office.

    CLINTON 08! Florida spoke, and the rest of America is about to step up to the mic.

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

    This was a huge victory for Clinton. It matters. One of the largest turnouts in Florida history. Voters do matter. Clinton broke no rules, if you think that, then you do not know what the rules were.

    Florida is ten times more important than SC. Florida is a make or break state for democrats and Hillary just proved she can win it. .SC is typically a republican state, and the only democrat to win here was Bill Clinton. Florida may not have delegates, but speaks volumes about what the American people want.

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


    January 29, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. Natalie

    I am very disapointed that Florida delegates do not count, but I will tell you my vote counts and so does everyone elses that live in Florida. Hillary Clinton was chosen by the people of Florida. We know how to read newspapers and watch campaign speeches to know who we want to vote for. Obama is insulting to the Florida people. I have been watching and reading since before the public debates with all the candidates and I know who I am voting for, I don't need Obama in my state making some phony speech...he wouldn't change my mind, especially after his comment earlier this evening about Florida not counting. Voters count!! I believe Hillary did the only decent thing to do by celebrating with Florida and her voters that support her.

    January 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. Latina for HILLARY


    January 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Tyler in Raleigh

    Doesnt matter anymore... McCain will whip all the Democrats now. The petty bickering in the part will end it.

    We dont need another Clinton. We need someone that can move beyond lies, games and scandal.

    January 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. Ramon

    Over 1.5 million Democrats voted. That makes it important. The delegates should not be counted because of the pledge, but to minimize the fact that HRC may approach 1 million votes tonight seems strange. Many of the people in America never have a politician appear in their state when running for the presidency. Most of the Midwest and Mountain west states are routinely ignored, but their votes in elections still are significant.


    January 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Nebraska Dem

    There was a tax issue on the ballot that drew alot of people to the polls. So after South Carolina her loyalist did a GOTV drive. Under the radar and without her campaign's official sanction. Wink! W!nk!

    The Florida Democratic party should have done what they were suppose to do. In Nebraska we wanted our votes to count, so we scheduled our Cauctus after Super Tuesday. Why have rules if you don't abide by them?

    The only reason Obama's ads ran in Florida is because they had to buy Florida to get the the other 49. You have to do a 50 state buy. This kind of BS is what turns the average citizen against participating in the process.

    This is a poor example of leadership. If I can't trust you to keep a simple agreement, why would I trust you to lead my country? We just finished with 8 years of that BS.

    January 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. obaman08

    Amy- all of the candidates had to leave their names on the ballots in florida because of their state law. Do your research please.

    January 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. Ben

    The delegates do not count and who cares about speeches the point is a large number of democrats went out and voted, and with its diversity, florida probably forecasts inevitable trouble for Obama on Super Tuesday.. Thats my view.

    January 29, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Jose Card - Independent

    The Clintons are robots programmed to do just one thing – get back to the White House at all costs. They think they are bigger than the Democratic Party and our nation.

    Of course, Hillary ignored DNC rules if she can make herself look better than Obama on the media for one day with her fake victory in Florida. DNC has no control over the Clintons, which makes DNC look weak in an Independent's view.

    January 29, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Jayna

    Robert, I've noticed that.. And MSNBC you might as well forget it. Must be bought out by the republican machine.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. Elle in Florida

    Come on, be fair. Hillary starts out with a huge name recognition factor. She has started out that way in every state, and things even out or change around totally once Barack comes to campaign. Barack didn't get a chance to campaign here, so, it's disappointing, but not unexpected that he lost to Hillary in Florida. Plus you add the fact that certain rabbis sent out e-mails telling their congregants that Obama is anti-Israel and pro-Muslin and urging them not to vote for him. That could have had a major impact in South Florida. As my kids would say, it sucks that Florida Democratic votes won't count toward selecting the nominee this year. It is totally unfair to Democrats in Florida. Thanks Dr. Dean for that lousy decision. The only thing that would possibly be more unfair iwould be to change the rules fo the game now, just because Hillary has an apparent victory, and count the delegates. Surely she would not stoop that low! Then again, it was also unfair of her to keep her name on the Michigan ballot and then claim a victory against.....uncommitted.

    Hillary cannot beat the Republicans in November, Obama can. Vote for change. Vote for victory in November!

    January 29, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. Mike H.

    The fact of the matter is that some two million Democratic Party voters will have cast ballots in Florida. And they are voting overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, who, like Obama, did not even campaign here. This is a landslide of party sentiment that simply cannot be ignored.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. Dianna

    Frankly, CNN should not have given any air time to the Democratic results in Florida, or Michigan for that matter, and especially to Hillary Clinton. Doing so encourages and gives weight to her behavior which has been, and continues to be, dirty politics. If the DNC is stupid enough to even consider her demand to be given the delegates from Michigan and Florida, they can kiss the credibility of the party good bye. I will not vote for Hillary because of her dirty politics, and I will not vote Democratic ever again if the DNC seats the delegates.

    January 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  16. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    Of course the late deciders went for Hillary! She campaigned for three days about how her previous pledge to support the Democratic Party's decision to invalidate Florida's votes should be reversed. It is amazing, given her violation of her pledge not to campaign, that any other candidates got votes at all. It is appalling that the media would fail to call her on this trick.

    January 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  17. Mark, Chicago, IL

    I've made a decision.

    If the election is Clinton vs. McCain – I'm voting for Clinton. If the election is Obama vs. McCain – I'm voting for McCain. I'm a registered Democrat and have always voted Democratic in the presidential elections. This will be a first for me but I cannot vote for an untested, not sure what you are getting Presidential candidate. Bush was an untested, not sure what you are getting Presidential candidate and I'm not going to support that.

    I'd prefer to vote for McCain than Obama. At least, I know what I'm getting and I can live with the areas that I disagree with McCain on.

    Those voting for Obama should vote based on facts, knowledge and experience – not on happy thoughts. If you do, Obama does not enter into the Presidential equation. This is too important to put it in the hands of an inexperienced politician.

    January 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  18. Tevin, Raleigh NC

    Florida + Michigan=0

    I'm from Florida and I'm happy they were punished!
    Once again Hillary changes her mind on something just because she sees it as politically benificial!

    January 29, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  19. joyo

    This is a mess, i can't believe people are actually voting for this farce, a pledge is a pledge, well she can't make a fool out of all of us Women for Obama!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  20. Carlos

    What bothers me about the National Demotratic Party is they complained when voters were disenfranchized back in 2000 for whatever the issue was then (we know). Now they are doing the same thing the republicans did back then.

    Were talking about 1 million votes, They need to be counted. Also, to clarify none of the candidates campaign. The only one the played adds for a very short period of time was Obama.

    January 29, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. Ryan kr

    Hillary secretly campaign and raise funds in Florida state. Well, she can raise billions, still she cannot win. Enough of Clintons...

    January 29, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  22. T

    If the DNC allows Michigan or Florida's premature primaries to count; the DNC will be a part of the problem of disenfranchisement. By candidates agreeing to not participate in premature primaries or campaign in states that hold them, all candidates agreed to keep the playing field equitable and above board.

    If any candidate is declared the winner of a premature primary, s/he should not accept or celebrate the results, unless the candidate is seeking to obtain an unfair advantage. Name recognition should not be the only reason for voting for a nominee, and neither should gender or race. All candidates should be allowed to campaign and present their viewpoints and ideas to the people.

    I hope the DNC will uphold its decision firmly, to not sit any delegates from either Michigan or Florida. If delegates from these premature primary states are needed, caucuses should be held in each state to determine the number of delegates that should be awarded to a candidate. By not allowing campaigning in Michigan and Florida, voters in each respective state have not had the opportunity to see or question the candidates or their surrogates sufficiently to take much stock in the outcomes of premature primaries.

    January 29, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  23. mike

    I think Hillary is much better the bush , both his father and him went too war and cause this economy to plunge.

    January 29, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  24. tomdavie

    So far after ALL THIS MEDIA HYPE , we got Obama with 63 delegates. Clinton with 48 and Edwards 22.

    Thats right. Out of over FOUR THOUSAND. Its basically ZERO each at this stage.

    You have got to be KIDDING ME right? The whole thing has been a BEAUTY SHOW. Very very few delegates have been awarded at all.

    They ALL are about the VOTE. They are ALL about momentum. This is why the Obama folks are TAP DANCING LIKE CRAZY to down play this.

    Its about momentum.

    everyone knew the rules. Nobody campaigned there. (obama ads aside) . Clinton was a DOUBLE DIGIT leader for a year now.

    Yes. she wants everyoone to know that the VOTERS voted for her. Yes she wants the MOMENTUM .


    But EVERYONE will see that Clinton SMOKED Obama. You cant take that away from Feb 5 voters.



    January 29, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  25. Peter B

    Has anyone ever thought that it is Obama that wants this to be about race. It sure would get the sympathy vote! Obama wins.....It'll be an "Obamination"

    January 29, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
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