Last night Mitt Romney won Florida with 46% of the vote, easily besting Newt Gingrich who received 32% of the vote. As I did after the South Carolina primary, I looked at CNN’s exit polling and fed their cross tabs data into Crosstabs Grapher (now available, free of charge!) to make some pretty charts.
If you go to the CNN page you can see that they have breakdowns in almost 50 categories. In the large majority of these categories Mitt Romney won every single breakdown, which isn’t surprising considering his margin of victory. I’ve chosen to graph several of the cross tab categories where Romney did not win all the categories, so that we can see what these exceptions might mean. I wanted to state this upfront so that it doesn’t appear that I am trying to build a narrative for a Gingrich candidacy. The data clearly indicate* a Romney victory in the sense that there are so few breakdowns where Romney doesn’t win every single category.
Our first graph is from our teaser last night, Vote by Age.
Romney won every single age breakdown here, whereas Ron Paul had won in the 9% of voters ages 18-29. The big takeaway here is that this group of young voters comprised only 6% of the Florida GOP vote.
Next we have Vote by Ideology.
This is the group that Newt Gingrich promised he would win, and he did, sort of. Among voters who described themselves as Very Conservative (33% total), Gingrich won 41% to Romney’s 30%. However, as the Romney campaign has pointed out, if you combine the Very Conservative and Somewhat Conservative groups, Romney wins 41% to 37% for Gingrich.
Here’s the chart for Vote by Opinion of the Tea Party:
Again, Gingrich won among those who Strongly Support the Tea Party (35%) with 45% of their vote. However, as with Ideology above, if you combine the Strongly Support and Somewhat Support categories, Romney wins that with 41% to Gingrich’s 37%. Ron Paul wins only 5% of voters who say they Strongly Support the Tea Party. Dear Dr. Paul, you are not a Tea Party candidate. Some Disagree.
There are two other demographic groups that Gingrich won, and they are Vote by White Evangelicals/Born Again:
And Vote by Opinion on Abortion:
The opinion on abortion cross tabs are interesting because 37% of Republicans in the Florida GOP believe that abortion should be Always Legal or Mostly Legal. In fact, the Republicans who believe that abortion should be Always Illegal, the group that Gingrich won with 44%, make up only 22% of Republican voters, which is less than the number of Republican voters who believe abortion should be Mostly Legal.
Romney had a good night last night. He should have, considering the amount by which he outspent his opponents. But there may be vulnerabilities in here for him, especially if Rick Santorum decides to drop out of the race and endorse Gingrich, which doesn’t seem particularly likely.
* – correct plural usage of data. Victory is mine.