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Bouncing from South Carolina to Florida

January 24, 2012

Last night, based on the first post-South Carolina poll of Florida voters, FiveThirtyEight drastically revised its prediction for the Florida primary next week.  Insider Advantage polled Florida voters on Sunday, the day after the South Carolina vote, and found Newt Gingrich leading the field at 34 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney at 26 percent, Ron Paul at 13 percent, and Rick Santorum at 11 percent.  Based on this poll alone, FiveThirtyEight revised its prediction from a 93 percent chance of a Romney win to a 66 percent chance of a Gingrich win.  FiveThirtyEight’s model provides a bonus for momentum, so FiveThirtyEight predicted that Gingrich will take 38 percent of the vote – a few points above the Insider Advantage result.

And sure enough, today Rasmussen released the second post-South Carolina poll of Florida voters, and it showed Gingrich at 41 percent to Romney’s 32 percent.  Based on those two polls, FiveThirtyEight says Gingrich has an 84 percent chance of winning Florida.

Romney’s support took a big hit, but Rick Santorum’s support also slipped a little, and Ron Paul’s held essentially steady.  I think this is the “consolidation factor” – the desire of conservatives to group together behind a candidate who can beat Romney, and Gingrich’s enhanced credibility after South Carolina as that candidate.

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