Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida Democratic Primary - Early Exit Poll

Well, sort of. I went down to the polling place closest to my abode when the polls opened this morning. I went equipped with my CNN=Politics reporters' notebook (a bit of swag from the GOP YouTube debate here in St. Pete last November) and stationed myself in the nicely marked exit polling area. I was wearing my FDP State Convention T-shirt and when the precinct deputy came to shoo me back to the "free speech zone" away from the poll, I told her that I was there to do exit polling for the Florida Democratic Party. Believe it or not, it worked.

My polling place is a church in an old residential area adjacent to downtown St. Pete. D's outnumber R's in this precinct by 45 to 27%. Other registrations actually beat out Rs in this precinct at 28%. In the hour or so that I was in the exit polling area this morning, the turnout was D's-58%, Rs-37, Others-5%. Who says D's won't show up to vote becasue their votes won't count?

For some strange reason, I didn't feel comfortable exit polling folks on their Presidential Preference. Instead, I focused on Amendment 1 and the Democrats most important issue in making their Presidential Preference choice.

If it were up to this precinct's early morning voters, Amendment 1 would be going down to defeat in flames. The folks I interviewed were voting NO at a rate of 59 to 41%. Sorry Charlie.

What really surprised me was the range of issues that were imprtant to the Democrats in making their choice for our nominee. Of the 10 voters I talked to in any length, I only got one repeat most important issue - The economy. That got mentioned twice. Only one Democrat indicated they were "bummed out their vote wouldn't count." And yet she came to vote anyway. The other voters I spoke to listed these as their most important determining issue:
  • Who's not married to a former President
  • Iraq
  • Leadership
  • Women's Issues
  • Experience
  • Change
  • Integrity
I did ask the person who stated integrity who they had voted for. Their response - Senator Obama. One person first said economy, but quickly followed up with "and the war". I asked her who she voted for and her answer was Hillary.

So, this is certainly not an attempt at a complete exit poll. But I just wanted to get a feel for the mood of the voters. I went back by that polling place earlier this afternoon. Some very stalwart Dem friends of mine were still there getting candidate petitions signed. They indicated that the turnout in our precinct had been steady and strong. That really heartens me for the mood of our Democratic voters. We just have to keep that buzz going through November's elections.

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