I don’t expect to be able to report a result by the time I close up show at 9 PM EST tonight. If I can it will be good news for Romney, a result of the banked votes his organization put away early.
Even if the combination of the low-blow and the Crist-Martinez endorsements allow John McCain to eke out a narrow win tonight, headlines like this one assure Romney of an open field over the next week, as does the building backlash against the McCain tactics. (See Rich Lowry’s assessment below.)
Expect the Golden State to be the decisive contest on 2/5, and tomorrow’s debate to be anything but dull.
Final Florida GOP Primary Numbers: Jump Ball — It is impossible to tell whether John McCain or Mitt Romney will emerge in 24 hours with Florida’s prized delegates, according to SurveyUSA’s final three Florida GOP tracking polls, including interviews on Primary Eve, conducted exclusively for WFLA-TV Tampa and WKRG-TV Mobile Pensacola. SurveyUSA’s 01/25/08 release showed the contest tied. SurveyUSA’s 01/28/08 release showed the contest tied. And this, SurveyUSA’s 01/29/08 release, shows the contest tied. We can reveal that in the final totals it is McCain 31.6%, Romney 31.2%, but we will caution that those numbers are not materially different than the Romney 31.9%, McCain 31.3% numbers that SurveyUSA reported this morning. The movement is too small to be judged significant, and the best interpretation of the data and the trendlines is that the contest could go either way. Rudolph Giuliani and Mike Huckabee finish far back, tied for 3rd place, with half the votes of the front-runners. Romney has caught McCain among older voters. But McCain has caught Romney among younger voters.