January 30th, 2008
09:40 AM ET
15 years ago

Exit polls: Conservatives choose Romney over McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/30/art.mccain.ap.jpg caption="Romney beat McCain among conservatives in Florida."](CNN) - John McCain has long had trouble courting the most conservative members of his party, and exit polls of Florida Republican primary voters show a sizeable number continued not to support him.

According to the exit polls, 62 percent of primary voters identified themselves as conservative and 37 percent of them voted for Mitt Romney, compared to the 29percent who went for McCain. That McCain continues to lose among his party's most conservative members could provide a small opening for Romney heading into super Tuesday.

But McCain was the overwhelming favorite among the 28 percent of Republican voters who identified themselves as moderate, and the 11 percent who said they were liberal. The Arizona senator beat Romney among moderates 43-21 percent, and among liberals 49 percent to 24 percent.

The Florida Republican primary was a key test for McCain - it was the first major early contest that bars voters who are registered Independents - a group that has been crucial to McCain's earlier wins.

"Florida has always been a special place to me, and it is even more so tonight," McCain said to supporters during his victory speech. "Our victory might not have reached landslide proportions, but it is sweet nonetheless."

- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Exit Polls • Florida
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. W.S.S. Nampa Idaho

    I am a conservative republican. If McCain gets the nomination I will still vote! I will vote for the democratic nomine who ever it is. Lets then hope that there are enough conservatives and “moral liberals” in the legislative branch to counteract them.

    January 30, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Marti, San Diego CA

    Jody – Huckabee has won ONE state...and it was a small state at that whose caucus was flooded (55-60%) by a single group of voters. Since then, he hasn't even won a majority of Evangelicals in any state outside of SC. He's come in 3rd -5th in every contest with the exception of IA and SC.

    Does he have some supporters? Yes, no question, but not nearly enough to win enough delegates to win the nomination.

    Take FL as a great example – he tied Romney and McAmnesty for the Evangelical vote. Among non-Evangelicals he won a dismally low 6%. Single digits, my friend.

    Listen, I share your same values and probably nearly all your same objectives and hopes in a candidate, but Huckabee has not shown an ability to garner substantial support outside of Evangelicals. Add to that not enough staff or money and he has no chance. Hey, I wish my candidate were doing better as well, but it is what it is.

    I'm voting for Romney because he's the only one left who can beat McAmnesty. In every state (except SC), Romney has won the majority of self-identified Republicans and Conservatives. Huckabee can't beat the guy whose butt he's kissing. It just doesn't work–Ask Rudy.

    January 30, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. David....Nevada

    Thats right... If McAmnesty wins the GOP nomination. Most true conservatives will vote local and state repubicans and give the vote to Hillary on the presidential. Hillary and Mc are essentially clones from the same mold. Likewise, I despire that man for his lack of integrity and true republican values. I'll give the female the benefit of the doubt this time around. As long as the dems dont get a super majority in the house or senate.. I'm ok with that..

    January 30, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. John Lee

    Gov. Romney claims that his business experience can solve the problems of US economy.

    He made $250 million in his life time. Each of Messrs. Gate and Buffet made more than 200 times of Romney's worth. Does this mean either Mr. Gate or Buffet can do 200 times better job to solve the economical problems than Romney can?

    It bothers me because Gov. Romney appears unable to recognize the difference between business and economy.

    January 30, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. John Lee

    I feel that most important qualification for the White House this year is the quality to restore people's respect for Politicians, Corporate Executives, Religious, and Media.

    January 30, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Derflinger

    I am sick of the coverage that you are givinig to Barak Obama. Although I haven't decided who I will vote for I can well observe who you want. The reason John
    Edwards had to drop out was because he got virtually no media coverage and where is the coverage for Hilary Clinton. Every time I turn on CNN I am treated to Obama, Romney and McCain mostly Obam who's every speech seems to be covered. I think fairness would state that you give ALL of the candidates equal coverage and Jack Cafferty needs to be posing should leading and biased questions.

    January 30, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Looking Carefully, Burke, VA


    Don't you realize that CNN doesn't care what viewers want for election coverage? They're as self-absorbed as all the candidates.

    Blitzer is an old fogey dipstick. Who came up with the stupid Situation Room? It's a joke.

    Dobbs needs medication - and some teeth whitening.

    Cooper will be a has-been soon enough.

    I'm off of this site for good - and I'm switching to FOX, where the anchors at least TRY to practice real journalism.

    January 30, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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