Polls are closed in Florida, and we're liveblogging the results of the Republican presidential primary.
4:58 PM PT (Jed Lewison): This is pretty funny......but I actually disagree. Mitt didn't go negative on Newt until it was too late in SC, and overall he didn't blow Newt out of the water as much as he did in Florida. Newt also had a stronger line of attack on Mitt—the Bain stuff—which he has mostly abandoned. The Juan Williams stuff was definitely important, but so too was the John King moment.
5:01 PM PT: It's no coincidence that Newt raised his stature when attacking Romney on Bain Capital, and collapsed when he abandoned that line of attack. Even Republican voters liked populist Newt better than they like ... whatever the hell he is these days.
5:02 PM PT: Oh, Romney wins Florida. In case anyone was wondering.
5:03 PM PT (David Nir): Exit polls project out to 46 Romney, 33 Gingrich, 12 Santorum, 8 Paul. So that's awfully close to a tie between R vs. G + S.5:05 PM PT:
5:07 PM PT: The best part of these primaries is that it's all fun! There's no pins and needles and personal stake in who wins or loses. They all suck, and the more contested primaries they have, the more we win!
5:14 PM PT (David Jarman): So Newt is ahead in only two counties of any consequence, population-wise. One is Clay County, the ultra-conservative suburbs of Jacksonville, where he leads 43-37. The other, interestingly, is Alachua County, home of Univ. of Florida, where the ex-prof is up 37-36. (As we've pointed out, the closer you get to the Georgia border, the better Newt does.) Romney's topping at least 40% in just about every other major county, even some of the fiercely red ones, like Lake Co. north of Orlando, home to notoriously right-wing retirement destination The Villages... Romney's up 45-35 there. But hey! At least Newt's winning a bunch of former-Dixiecrat rural counties in the Panhandle, never mind that most of them have populations of 10 or 20,000.
5:15 PM PT: In the past, I'd say, "Okay, that does it. Mitt's the nominee!" But I've learned my lesson. In this primary, who the hell knows what's next? Sure, Romney is still likely to be the nominee, but we don't know how bumpy that ride will be.
5:17 PM PT: Remember how Jewish voters were flocking to the GOP because of Obama? Only 1% of voters were Jewish, compared to 3% in 2008