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Some of the absentee voting took place.
And arguably a few hours at a -- he.
Early voting took place before Newt Gingrich won South Carolina -- to us about its influence in the dynamics there.
But Florida is one of the states with a very large absentee voting population.
And we have early voting that kicked off as you said just before that primary so one would assume given Romney's organizational advantage and financial advantage and the polling advantage he was experiencing that those earliest votes are more likely to be his.
And what would also -- given Gingrich's performance particularly in South Carolina.
That now we're going to see more of an even split based on the polling data in those early voters.
Stephen did Newt Gingrich stick it on the chin in the debate the other night and how much might that affect what happens next Tuesday.
-- I don't I don't think he had the kind of debate that he had back to back in South Carolina it wasn't a debate where people came out of it buzzing that Newt Gingrich had a great night.
I think Mitt Romney did do well I think he had Newt Gingrich struggling to it to.
To answer some of the questions -- -- at one point you probably remember Newt Gingrich was speechless I mean.
That never happened -- -- to her speechless so I think in assets it was a good night from -- but remember.
Newt Gingrich is trying to do something different now he is the front runner he's the front runner in Florida he's arguably the front runner nationally.
He no longer needs to have the kind of insurgent.
Can't stay in your face message that he used to try to make up that lead now that doesn't mean he.
He doesn't need to still be strong I think he does but he he would be I think this constant.
You don't needling Mitt Romney over the top rhetoric about the president -- Republican colleagues.
That got him to the front now I think he's trying to step back and take its foot off the gas a little bit.
I -- this is Liz peek here Steve and I and it seems to me one of the changes of course was that they did and Gingrich didn't have that support of the crowd.
Booing and cheering at leaping to their feet.
That seems to be a discussion now about how the next few debates are gonna wind out what do you think -- that as that's as important as people are making -- -- -- being.
Probably not I mean I think it's important I don't think it's the end all be all I think one -- in several factors that contributed to Newt Gingrich having a good night's that he had.
In South Carolina but it's not the end all be -- as I say I think.
He's approaching these debates a little bit differently now because he's meeting he doesn't need -- kind of message that he needed.
In South Carolina and we saw this I think as as evidence we saw this in his speech on Saturday night.
In South Carolina where he took more subdued tone he made his case.
But it wasn't that kind of that he wasn't playing off the crowd that was there a raid in front of him.
He was giving almost de -- almost -- professorial lecturer if you will.
-- professor on.
If Florida is also different then the first three contrast it contests.
Not proportionate delegates.
That are distributed among.
The first second and third place.
How does that affect Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
Exactly you can see it in Ron Paul's campaign's decision simply not to really engage the campaign at all in Florida.
There's no reason to think that either Rick Santorum -- Ron Paul can win.
And spending time and resources here for Ron Paul and his strategy made no sense at all I think Rick Santorum.
Needs to do well in Florida simply to establish that.
He might be able to go the distance he might be the other viable alternative to Romney.
But that's not going to be about delegates that -- -- is going to be about percentages and right now the evidence suggests that he's not gaining back on the -- Do you do you think -- that Gingrich is going to be successful in convincing people he's electable this does seem to be the sort of number one issue for everyone in South Carolina New Hampshire even Iowa.
And it did what he describes derisively as the establish -- -- Republicans do not think he's electable.
How is -- that voters are are being convinced that he is -- -- is can he do that in Florida.
I think the reference that -- -- making earlier to the more processor or was he was trying to vista's more profits -- approach pulling back a little bit of a fighter Bulldog.
Will help him especially because Gingrich is the only one of the significant Republican candidates we've seen.
Who appears to have a gender gap.
Who appears to -- significantly worse with the women.
Then with the man I think that's an indicator of that anxiety about -- kind of performance he will make in the long run.
And the risk that he might just offended enough people that he would not feel.
You know -- I was looking at some of the more recent Fox News polling data and one of the things that caught my -- was far away.
Newt Gingrich has the highest negative reading he is on favorability.
Is almost 60%.
-- which I think prompted conservative commentator Rich -- to say look regardless of what south Carolinians may think.
New Gingrich in a general election would be radioactive.
What do you.
-- those are very it's very hard especially for somebody he's been on the national scene.
And has 100%.
Name identity people know who need Newt Gingrich is.
It's very hard to turn those unfavorable numbers are round and I think that is cause for concern for Republicans who are.
Worried about his electability is one of the reasons I think one of several -- one of the reasons you have people in Washington who are working with senate candidates and and congressional candidates.
Who are concerned about his electability -- I think the Gingrich campaign would say to you this.
In 1994 everybody told us we were -- we said we're gonna take over the house if you look at 2010.
The idea that Scott Brown a Republican was gonna win Ted Kennedy's seat was preposterous and all of -- know it -- and Washington said that those things could never happen.
People so that it Gingrich was dead over the summer people said three weeks ago that Newt Gingrich is dead.
What he didn't do well in either our New Hampshire.
And he's done well mountain you know that's a Republican primary these are different -- in -- -- you're comparing apples to apples the stakes not even orders.
But at the same time I think the -- favorability ratings are going to be his biggest problem.
There was a poll yesterday showing that Mitt Romney had high unfavorable ratings to edit it was an ABC poll that -- close to Newt Gingrich -- I think if you see that as a trend.
If what Newt Gingrich has done.
To Mitt Romney in South Carolina and continuing to do.
Hazardous -- sort Kerry's nationally and raises Mitt Romney's -- favorability ratings.
It is in an odd way I Gingrich is -- -- making himself a more plausible candidate because -- -- Romney becomes less plausible.
Professor -- -- this negative negative there a couple of negative ads.
That are new running in Florida now with what five or six days left.
Problem in one of whom -- basically.
Tries to -- train it increases is it as a bit of a liar by saying.
-- had you know that.
I left congress on my own accord when in fact TE was basically kicked out of the leadership.
And the other one that just came out today at calls -- -- prodigious name dropper.
And -- counts the number of times during debates.
It uses Ronald Reagan's name and and it sort of makes fun of him in mocks him and says look.
And -- -- pretends he was Ronald Reagan's vice president when Reagan mention him only once.
In his -- lengthy diaries I did these things work there.
I think they do -- I think they do come back to the issue of electability that you've been talking.
I think Florida voters recognize that the decision that's made here.
By the Republicans in Florida is likely to profoundly.
Influenced everything else that happens after and they want -- candidate who can win Florida.
So when you have.
But someone whose personality.
Is being questioned and has a history of what might be -- -- personality flaws by -- critics at least.
That's a natural thing to exploit to raise the concern of about whether this is a candidate who can carry Florida in the general election.
So last question maybe for me make it last night president with a group of people mostly Republicans believe -- -- not in New York.
And the question was could we see another entry is it is it too late.
But from my perspective I think the answer is absolutely yes it is -- for Florida for sure.
And while that not only Florida I -- my view would be it's too late for the country.
Just because it's too hard to get started this way -- -- some of the filing deadlines in the large states that are back loaded this year instead of front loaded right and some of moral winner take all.
Are actually mid February -- somebody arguably could jump again.
And do well couldn't bank.
Sure he added I will travel say that I think it's unlikely I don't think it's that's likely to happen.
But if you see the divide between Republicans.
Who support Mitt Romney Republicans who support Newt Gingrich.
And and think of of the fact that Ron Paul is continuing to accumulate delegates will continue to accumulate delegates particularly the caucus states.
I don't think it's too late necessarily and I did some back of the envelope math looking specifically at the filing deadlines that you mentioned Greg.
And it is the case that if somebody were to get -- after Florida they could get roughly depending on how you count 12130.
Delegates -- you need 11140.
And change delegates to win the nomination.
So it's unlikely that somebody would come in after Florida and be able to sweep all of those delegates and you would literally have to win almost all of them and given the way the delegates.
Are a sign after this it's that's.
But having said that if it looks like it's going to a brokered convention if it looks like this may be a situation where -- in Tampa where there there's a debate about who's the best.
First to go forward and nobody has the requisite number of delegates.
I don't think it's impossible for Republicans attorneys say both of our -- leading candidates have on favorability ratings near sixty this is not tenable we've got to get somebody else.
Professor before say goodbye to your.
I'm worried about.
Did these so called baggage of Newt Gingrich.
You know so much -- been said about Mitt Romney being a flip flop -- one could and in fact his critics say the same thing of Newt Gingrich.
He was in favor of TARP before he was against did he was in favor of cap and trade before he was against it.
He was in favor of the individual mandate before he was against it and then he was in favor of Libyan intervention before he was against it.
Is there any asserted that sense there that they Gingrich is also guilty of flip flopping and in Florida.
I think there is the sense that Gingrich is not the pure candidate that the conservative wing has really been looking for.
But I think the other reality now is were coming up on the primary is.
There isn't that pure candidate in the race currently who also seems credible so I think people are wrestling with what -- -- want -- -- candidate.
They don't have that we -- they want the candidate close to it or did they then compromise and say okay well if they're both not that good from this perspective who's the most electric.
Professor Scott -- at the University of Tampa please come back interesting conversation.
Stephen Hayes of the weekly standard senior writer there aren't.
Thanks very much for being with us is that ownership.
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