Skip to comments.Seven Reasons Newt Lost Florida (Despite My Prediction to the Contrary)
Posted on 02/01/2012 8:23:50 AM PST by Vigilanteman
As the guy who predicted here that Newt would pull out a narrow win in Florida, I have to admit I was wrong. Dead wrong.
This doesn't change the fact that I was dead right about Newt's upset win in South Carolina. All the pundits were predicting a close election or a narrow win for Newt. I was alone in predicting a blow-out. The only thing I was wrong about is UNDER estimating his margin of victory.
Not to make excuses, but I had sources on the ground in South Carolina. In Florida, I was limited to looking at news, polls and crunching numbers. So how could the results have been so different? Let's examine each reason:
Reason #1: The Newtzilla Factor. Jonah Goldberg's explanation still very much applies. It is just that the Newtzilla wounded himself far worse in the final debate that even I imagined. More on that when we get to Reason #7.
Reason #2: Mitt Romney. He didn't underperform his polling this time. In fact, he achieved actual results on the high end of his polling for the first time in his political career. Less than 24 hours after the primary, I am at a loss to explain it and it will require further analysis.
Reason #3: Money. Yes, I know Mitt vastly outspent Newt in Florida. But Newt still does not lack for money. His PACs are still buying anti-Romney ads in Pennsylvania and we don't vote until April 24. Money is definitely a factor, but how and where you spend it is even more important.
Reason #4: Florida is still a southern state. In the breakdown of exit polling shown here, Newt was polling 1% more of the large self-identified Evangelical voters than Mitt. One percent. He needed about 20% to win Florida. I don't have the resources to analyze why. But Newt needs to do so if he's going to turn his campaign around. Here's a guess: Knock off the attacks from the left on Bain Capital and immigration. The hard conservative vote (Free Republic readers) will forgive you because we know you (probably) don't mean it. For the remainer, not being Mitt Romney is just not good enough.
Reason #5: Early voting. Yes it was huge. But turnout on primary election voting day was even bigger. Bigger than in 2008. Bigger than most of the pundits predicted.
Reason #6: National polls. These reflected a big bounce from Newt's huge South Carolina win. There is a portion of the electorate which is always swayed by the bandwagon effect. And Newt was the front-runner after South Carolina. Not anymore. Those polls will tighten now. I've never understood this mentality. Logical thinker that I am, I'd vote for the candidate more likely to lose in a close election where all things were equal. But bandwagon voters, like feelings voters are more prevalent in a large mostly urban state somewhat insulated from reality than they are in a smaller mostly rural state which has to face reality head-on.
Reason #7: Immigration. This really comes into focus when you look at the results of Hispanic voters. It's all Romney, even an absolute majority which crosses the 50% barrier. Some might dismiss this by pointing to the popularity of Marco Rubio, a Romney backer. Others by saying Hispanics like free stuff from the government.
Either would be a mistake. Notice Mitt drew more from Cuban-American Hispanics than non-Cuban-American Hispanics. Cubans are the more conservative subset of the two.
Let me suggest the real reason was Newt's attack from the left in the last debate about Romney's suggestion of self-deportation. Legal Americans of Hispanic descent are not so hung-up on non-enforcement of our immigration laws as the La Raza crowd. In fact, they would like to see more enforcement. These people came here legally, worked hard, appreciate the advantages which America has to offer and are more interested in contributing to America than they are in getting free stuff like the La Raza crowd. It is a hard concept for politicians steeped in the ways of Washington to understand. Newt will need to understand it and learn it if he is going to reverse positions with the new front runner.
When Newt first began to respond to the Mitt Super-Pac negative ads, I commented that if Newt decided to become his own hatchet man that it would hurt him with the voters. Mitt’s Super-Pac might have started the negative ads in a big way, but when Newt began to retaliate personally during the debates, that hurt him.
The reality seems to be that candidates can benefit from negative campaigning if done by others or in ads, but can be hurt if done by the candidate himself.
Look for the rest of the south to go to Newt. Other than for the northen part of FL which is what is left of the American south is the only part that went to Newt.
Okay, here’s one thing I can’t get out of my head today.
The Romney campaign blatantly modeled the playbook of Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals 101. Target your enemy, Freeze it and then Destroy it(paraphrase).
So lemme get this straight. The pro Mittens groupies/Fla.voters are okay with that. THE GOP-E is fine with it. WTH doesn’t someone call them out for what they really are: Chicago thugs?
What is happening in our society when we are so desensitized to behavior like this that we are supposed to ignore it or sanction it under the guise of being acceptable for the sake of winning at all costs by leveling a fellow Republican?
I want to see the vote counts with the early voting subbed for EACH and also stripped out.
I just can’t imagine the Cuban conservatives going so hard for Mitt.
I don’t get it, OR what you said about it.
Newt needs a good strategy session that will narrow down the goals, and drive them home from there.
If he wants to go after Romney, there's plenty of ammo to choose from via his record as governor. Contrast it. Show how many jobs were created in the mid 90s and compare it to the job creation in Mass when Mitt was gov. But, I would hope he lays off the Bain stuff and the Kosher food robo-calls.
We took a lump or 4 last night, but due to 1/2 the delegates being stripped this was not anywhere near a mortal blow to his campaign. Florida's neighbor to the north has, what, 76 delegates?
Newt must refocus, listen to some fresh campaign ideas, and make the majority of the push about Newt and his vision to make this country better. I expect him to go after Mitt, but Newt must give America a reason to vote for him, and not just be a reason to vote against Mitt.
Most people have no idea how the are manipulated, what a meme is how it is used etc. Alinsky’s methods work. But it is up to us whether we use than for good or evil.
Do you happen to have any contact information for Herman?
seven reasons??? there are over 2 million reasons, and they would be the lazy asses that did not go and vote.. period... end of discussion
Most voters like tough, smart Newt. They’d don’t like mean, mad Newt.
Ha.. no. :) I'm not that far up the food chain for that info. For that matter, any food chain. :)
Reason #8: Gender gap. Newt thought he dodged that bullet in SC for good. Guess what, he didn’t, and it will be even more of a factor in the general.
I am a Newt supporter, but I don’t think having our candidate “attack from the left” is what people on this site are looking for.
I can. A lot of them are fed up with illegal immigration. Creating incentives for self-deportation is one of the most effective ways to combat it. Newt was stupid to attack Mitt Romney for making this suggestion, particularly when there is so much legitimate ammo.
I'm not sure how you are going to strip out the votes for early versus same day voting. They all get mixed together in the end. About the only way I can imagine it would happen is to get a representative sample of early voters from exit polling or phone interviews. I just don't see an accurate way to do that without spending a ton of money. It would be like sampling absentee voters. Its just not going to happen with existing technologies.
All Freepers need to go to other sites once in awhile to see what people other than hard conservatives are thinking. In most cases, it will convince you that we are more right than ever, but it will at least give you some added perspective. I'm not suggesting just nominally conservative sites like Drudge or Michael Savage, but even far left sites.
Of course, I'd avoid something like Democrat Underground as it borders on pornographic. LiberalsAreCool.Com, on the other hand, gives you a pretty good perspective of their upside down thinking without the sewer pipe.
You will eventually see some of the arguments made here make it into the enemedia just as you will see arguments made on Free Republic make it into the conservative media.
Here are the cumulative vote figures to date from an excel file I am keeping and updating after each primary/caucus:
|At large Dels||18||2||1||0||0||0||0||21|
I think Newt has been hurt by his immigration stances more than we realize. About the time the Romney Super-Pac was running the negative ads in Iowa, there was also the debate where Newt was leading the polls, and where he again laid out his amnesty plan for illegal aliens who’d been in the country for 25 years, put down roots, go to church, etc.
Because Newt was in the lead then, viewers really paid attention to that, but the voter reaction to that got lost in all the negative ads and the shifting polls during Iowa. But I think it hurt him then and in every state since.
Downthread, Will88 commented that Newt acting as his own hatchetman was not an effective strategy, or perhaps not an ideal strategy. I agree, but a little more pointedly;
Frankly, I don’t think Newt made nor makes effective arguments FOR himself. And he does not make effective arguments AGAINST Mitt. There was and is a fundamental omission in his “connection” strategy. He can rail about “conservative principles” all he wants but relative to Romney that is a losing tack with his divorces, the Nancy couch, Freddie Mac, and his former advocacy of univ health care. I think he needs to connect at a more visceral level. People cannot buy food nor pay their rent with principles. And while I am obviously not advocating abandoning principles, going straight for principles skips over the stomach-shelter connection, fatally, in this case.
For example, there is this idea that Mitt, with his business experience, is the one who will bring back jobs. Mitt has successfully welded together the concept of Mitt = business = jobs. I believe the case could have been made that Mitt’s business experience which was and is nothing to sneer at, but to *accurately* and in *I can reveal truth to you* mode portray as one of wringing out inefficiencies in EXISTING businesses...not STARTING new businesses. Huge difference. Sucking the fat out of an existing business (and I am not being insulting, I am just trying to encapsulate, if overbriefly) more typically results in the offshoring of jobs. It’s definitely not the same thing as starting a business from scratch. In Mitt Romney’s world, Mitt being a successful business is far, far more likely to COST you your job than CREATE your next job. This thought connection was never made effectively. It was made CLUMSILY, and turned into an attack on capitalism. The point MIGHT have been made that the offshoring tycoon wants to fool you into thinking that he is the originator of businesses that might furnish you with your next job, but that is demonstratably not so. That illusion might well have been deflated WITHOUT having the effort turn into a clumsy attack on capitalsim, which is exactly what Newt did. See, some things he says concisely, some he says klutzily. This clumsiness turned off some numbers of GOP voters, there can be no doubt. Newt should have CONGRATULATED Mitt on his business success, but he NEVER MADE the connection that Mitt’s success is your unemployment.
Another example: Newt’s marital goofballism is out there, there’s nothing to reveal in terms of landmines. Newt never made the case that the number of divorces and/or affairs he has had will not affect you and your job prospects one iota.
He should have joked that his affairs put plenty of money into the economy in terms of the lawyers he had to hire.
At the same time, Newt’s track record of reduced deficits IS something that can be positively linked to legislative leadership and a positive-going economy. Newt says Mitt will “manage the decline”. Yeah, OK, huh? Newt is being too cerebral for his audience, who can appreciate him for cerebralism BUT NOT UNTIL he connects it with their guts.
Newt is IMO making the most fundamental error in modern selling, which is to obscure or ignore the notion that people never, ever walk out of the store with the thing they think they are buying. The corny old example is the best one: People do not buy electric drills. They buy holes. When a man walks into a hardware store and buys an electric drill he is not buying the drill...he is buying THE HOLES he believes the drill will produce for him, and the freedom to place those holes, of different sizes, where he wants them, in various materials. So if you are trying to sell a man a drill, talking about the esthetic features goes nowhere, most of the time. You sell drills by paving over and smoothing, in the buyer’s mind, the gaps between his freedom to place holes and the instrument of his enhanced ability to do so. The buyer WANTS those gaps filled. If you, as seller, fail to do so, there’s nobody to blame but yourself.
How do you figure? The numbers I've seen show the total Republican primary vote was about 1.67 million. In 2008 it was 1.94 million.
Newt was way off his game in Florida, but I think you have missed the main reason for it. I believe he went to Florida completely unaware of, and therefore completely unprepared for, exactly how deep the establishment GOP was willing to wallow in the mud to detroy him PERSONALLY.
They went far beyond endorsing romney, the candidate, and all the way into trying to mortally wound Gingrich, the MAN, in such a massively dishonest and perverse onslaught that it shocked even him.
It was like watching the fourteenth round of Mancini vs Kim except Newt’s coma didn’t kill him...and G-d willing, he now knows what he is actually fighting.
Here’s another reason why Newt lost. Newt has a lot of supporters and fans but he doesn’t have that many friends. He has great ideas but when attacks focused on his character, he had few friends to vouch for him.
I'm comparing only candidates which brought voters to the polls with the expectation that their vote might actually make a difference in 2012 vs. 2008.
The raw turnout comparison is counting all candidates, even those who polled less than a quarter million actual votes.
“When Newt first began to respond to the Mitt Super-Pac negative ads, I commented that if Newt decided to become his own hatchet man that it would hurt him with the voters. Mitts Super-Pac might have started the negative ads in a big way, but when Newt began to retaliate personally during the debates, that hurt him.”
It also contradicted his entire approach to previous debates which was to recognize that the media wanted to divert attention from Obama by getting candidates to attack each other.
At this point, I'm personally hopeful that the continued slugfest between Newt and Mitt will drive both their negatives so high that the GOP will settle on the unifying candidate which polling shows can beat Obama handily in key swing states: Rick Santorum.
I know the man well. He was my district's congressman for 4 years and U.S. Senator for 12. He is far from perfect, but he is honorable and decent.
There is a lot of crap they can throw at him, but far less than what has already been unloaded on Newt and Mitt.
Still, any of the three would make a far better POTUS than what we have now, despite the hyperbole you read.
So basically you’re saying that the 2012 turnout exceeds the 2008 turnout if you exclude the 300,000 more people who voted in 2008.
I see little to be gained by attacking Mitt’s business experience. If Newt created his own company then he could talk.
But when you have Romney, who knows how the private sector actually works, even if it is flawed, versus Newt who has his own ideas of how the private sector ‘ought’ to work, based on what he read from a book, the debate is over before it even started.
The debate should’ve focused on Romney’s role in government because that’s what proves he’s a liberal.
V-man, you make a good case that your guy has a path to the nomination.
If you seriously believe he could defeat Obama in November (with the electorate of 2012, not 1950), please make the case.
I just don’t see it at all.
Yeah, your prediction was spectacularly wrong. Not even in the ballpark. Virtually every poll showed Mitt winning by a large margin. No matter how politically savvy you may be, ignoring overwhelming polling evidence like that is a true rookie mistake. You basically missed by 17 points (you predicted Newt up by 3 and instead the chameleon won by 14) which is sorta of like analyzing a race and missing a coming landslide. Still, your analysis is interesting and it seems like you had a good handle on SC.
What's with the 7 reasons thing. You listed 7 reasons Newt would win, 7 for why he wouldn't. Do your predictions usually have 7 bullet points?
Its called taking responsibility for a spectacularly wrong prediction after I bragged about making a spectacularly right one.
Do you think you will ever see Dick Morris do the same thing?
Theres only one reason... Most Republican women vote for Romney because of the Newt wife thing.. The men voted for Newt or Rick... or even Ron..
Its that simple.. everyone knows Willard is Eddie Haskell(Beavers friend)..
Nope. Dick Morris is useless. His "predictions" have virtually no value. The only thing you get from Morris is essentially a political hack thinking out loud and trying to kiss up to a new political block (lately the Tea Party). Lost in all the excitement of our 2010 wins, was Morris' staggering wrong predictions of gains upwards of 100 seats and the likely capture of the Senate. 2010 was a significant electoral
I wasn't criticizing you, just stating the facts. You missed by 17 points which is big time fail if you are wanting to make a habit of making political predictions. The overwhelming polling evidence indicated a significant win for the chameleon and you shouldn't have ignored that no matter how much you may have wanted to. Primary polling isn't very good, but taken collectively it was obvious RINO Mitt was going to win big.
As to the 7 bullets, I was just wondering if you offered 7 reasons as part of your standard predictions/commentary. No sleight intended.
I think it’s really very simple.
The premise of the loose coalition called the “tea party” is that the status quo cannot continue, that bankruptcy or hyperinflation (or both) loom, and that cutting spending is necessary for our national survival. Which is all true.
The problem is that there is a majority of voters, split up among Democrats and GOP-e, who either don’t believe it, or don’t want to.
2/3 of the Florida economy is spending by greedy geezers stealing from young families. Romney is selling the fantasy that the issues are not structural but rather caused by Obama’s incompetence.
The People are not ready for cutting. Oh, yes, they are OK with cutting “fraud”, and “waste” , and some want the immigration laws enforced, with resultant cuts in spending on Mexicans.
But fixing our problems will involve much, much more than that. Palin knows. Gingrich knows. Ron Paul, in his squirrelly way, knows too.
What Florida reveals is that no one who understands is electable. Not until things are much worse.
And this insures the one worst possible outcome, the reelection of Obama, who after all is very, very competent for his purpose, which is our destruction.
Sorry, forgot to finish my comment about Morris.
I meant to say 2010 was a very significant electoral wave, but not the tsunami Morris was predicting. Dick was so busy trying to attach himself like a barnacle to the tea party that he become too biased (and probably didn’t want to be a wet blanket) and didn’t see the fact that our wave had little effect on the coasts. We won big in the heartland (especially the rust belt), but the left still dominates the coasts for the most part.
Target your enemy, freeze it, and destroy is politics 101 and not the Alinski rules. Gingrich should do the same to Romney and he should show no mercy, just expose the SOB as a liberal flips floper, an abortionist, a gun grabber, creator of the Romneycare which the Obamacare was based on, etc Romney must be defeated at all cost, period.
Were Newt to lend his solid ideas and Mitt his solid organization, I have no doubt this fantasy could become reality.
The bottom line is that whether Newt or Mitt becomes that nominee, they are going to need almost all of Santorum's supporters plus most of their opponents supporters to limp across the finish line in November. Given the current bad blood between the Romney and the Gingrich people, I see Rick Santorum as the best way of making that happen. Possibly even the only way, at this point.
I'm looking at the new trends from Florida, the states remaining and the building rancor between the Gingrich and Romney camps. I'm considering how bitter the Romney people will feel if Gingrich takes it to the convention and wins a nasty floor fight. It was their turn, they played by the rules and they got the nomination snatched from them anyway.
I'm also considering how bitter the Gingrich people will feel if the Romney organization and money machine rolls over them and limps across the finish line to the convention. You have the nomination, but no united party for the big contest in the fall.
Unless one or the other can open up a decisive lead by, say, the last big round of primaries on April 24, I see no other way than a compromise candidate out of this pickle. Do you?
He should do both. Advertise himself as someone who can defeat socialism and at the same time destroy Romney by exposing him as a liberal on many issues. He should show no mercy toward Romney, no mercy at all.
Yes, they do. But the problem is they don't know if he's the Eddie Haskell (Wally's friend, actually) as shown on television who is smooth on the surface and a shyster underneath or the Eddie Haskell in real life who invested the money of the cast from the series well and enabled them to do reasonably well after the series ended, back in the day when television actors were paid relatively modest salaries.
You have a similar dilemma with Gingrich, which is why he does so well among the young who have limited memories of what he has done since he peaked in the mid-90s.
Either way, you have a problem with winning the big prize in November. Which is exactly why we need another candidate which both camps could support.
The turnout was 1.6 million but turnout in 2008 was 1.9 million. Source.
I saw the attack ads on Tampa TV; they were vicious and frequent. Newt DOES lack money. He and the Super PAC supporting him were outspent 4 or 5 to 1.
You don't consider whether "sexual harasser" Cain's "endorsement" had a Judas Kiss effect on Newt among women. Is there polling on his to show a shift there among women in FL before vs. actual vote?
I guess Romney's name checking a laundry list of Republican Latinos during the last debate had the effect I thought it might.
It'll be interesting to see if you can figure out how Romney beat Newt + Santorum combined and for the first time did not underperform in his polling.
[ Either way, you have a problem with winning the big prize in November. Which is exactly why we need another candidate which both camps could support. ]
We don’t have one.. Santorum does not inspire.. and Ron has his Political Tourettes thing..
Why did Newt lose? He screwed up in the debate.
Santorum and Newt are splitting the conservative vote. This is how we got McCain last time
“I see little to be gained by attacking Mitts business experience. If Newt created his own company then he could talk.”
I don’t quite see it that way. I think there is a valid tactical opening, but it has to be handled with finesse, and it wasn’t. It was slopped over. Mitt’s business experience is to be lauded. He is clearly skilled at what he does/did. His Salt Lake Olympics achievement is a fact, a matter of record. His track record at Bain is great. His goal there was (presumably) not to act as a private sector employment agency, but to make money for himself & investors. At that, he succeeded mightily.
The angle of attack is that “his success is your failure”. Him succeeding at that enterprise cost large number of jobs.
I am trying to be as specific as I can: If Mitt “does not connect” with voters (and you and I have both heard that) then the connection we DO want to forge is that of Mitt > job losses. That hits in the gut.
Secondarily, there was the opportunity for Newt to compliment Mitt on his biz success and make him own it, but at the same time, make him own the job losses. Also serves to disarm the extreme vitriol that was already clearly in the works when Newt decided to so blindly strike back. Why didn’t Newt talk about the XYZ corporation that lost 1300 jobs when the plant was closed and moved to China? Why didn’t he (if he wanted to get deeply into the weeds) go interview 3 people whose homes were foreclosed when they lost their jobs therefrom?
I repeat, it’s a tactic. I am entirely uncritical of Mitt’s investment activities, at last as far as I happen to know about them at this moment. Conducted poorly as it was, the tactic backfired on Newt. Remember, as we are seeing, it is not so much whether ones’ accusations against an opponent in this game are true; it is the effort and missteps and misstatements and the defensive postures that might be induced on the part of the opponent, the waste of media face time.