If you’re looking for a haven of sanity and logic, Florida wouldn’t necessarily be your first stop. But Republicans have got no choice: Tuesday’s vote may be the party’s last shot at imposing order on the spiraling chaos of the primary season. So far, signs aren’t promising.
The GOP race looks like a dead heat in the CNN Florida poll released yesterday, with Romney at 36% and Gingrich at 34%. A 25 point Romney lead in our last poll basically evaporated in just two weeks’ time.
But is the race really neck-and-neck? Maybe. Probably. But the truth is: right now, nobody really knows. We’re seeing significant day-to-day swings in the numbers, with both men trading momentum over the course of our three-day poll: Gingrich holding an undeniable advantage one day, Romney holding a significant edge the next. We’re now in uncharted territory - this late in the season, this is not how Republican presidential campaigns work.
What’s driving the numbers? The evidence isn’t all that clear-cut. But here’s one clue: unfavorable ratings for both men are rising by double-digit margins in virtually every poll. In other words, as the campaign grows bloodier by the day, it’s as though Florida Republicans wake up each morning and think to themselves: Who do I like less today?
With 50 winner-take-all delegates, the Florida primary could be a game-changer in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. That makes tonight’s debate - hosted by CNN, the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network - crucial to the candidates’ fight to the top. It’s one last opportunity for a face-to-face showdown before Tuesday’s vote.
Tune in for the debate at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, and don’t miss Anderson’s post-debate show for the best recap and analysis. Also, don’t forget to send your questions for the candidates by using #CNNDebate on Twitter.
Reporter's Note: The President had a not so nice arrival out west, unlike my letters which are always welcome. At least I hope.
Dear Mr. President,
I trust all is going well with your travels after that rather testy chat you had with the Arizona governor. I can't say that I'm surprised. Not only are there the regular party differences between you two, but this whole immigration business is going to be a sore point for a while, I imagine.
And what is the solution? I guess no one knows.
One fundamental question that needs to be answered: What purpose does immigration serve these days?
Some might say "Do you mean legal or illegal?". It seems to me that the two have become so tangled in the same debate that we can no longer discuss one without the other.
So is the fundamental goal of our immigration policy bringing needed labor to this country? Or is it helping struggling people? Or is it for politicians to add to a voting block?
I think, just as our nation's economy has evolved over centuries, our immigration policy has needed to evolve, too. And the first step in that evolution probably starts with that question: What do we expect or want from immigration? Once we answer that, I suspect, we'll be on our way toward constructing a policy that can work.
Two members of congress, both Republicans, say Gingrich lobbied them on behalf of Freddie Mac. Anderson Cooper reports.
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