The big news organizations couldn't call this one fast enough. The moment the last of the Florida polls closed at 8pm, AP, CNN, and all the usual suspects declared Mitt Romney the winner. It wasn't tough: With all precincts reporting, Romney had 46.4%, Newt Gingrich 31.9%, Rick Santorum 13.4%, and Ron Paul 7%. In their respective speeches, Gingrich made clear that he is in the race for the long run, while Romney put all his focus on President Obama. Click for that.
Some exit poll highlights:
- Electability: 45% said it was the most important attribute in a candidate, a good sign for Romney.
- Conservatives: Voters who called themselves "very conservative" went for Gingrich 43-29, one of Newt's few bright spots, notes Politico.
- Anyone else? About 4 in 10 said they would like another candidate in the race.
- Women: Romney won among female voters 51-29, reports the Daily Caller.
- Economy: 30% said they were falling behind financially, and half said foreclosures were a big problem in their communities, notes AP.
- Negative ads: 37% said Romney ran the most unfair campaign, while 34% pinned it on Gingrich.
- Demographics: About 1 in 7 voters were Hispanic, and 4 in 10 were over age 65.
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