Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lookin At The Panhandle

Some interesting post-Florida analysis from the St. Pete Times Buzz.
Hillary Clinton thumped her Democratic rivals Florida. But looking at north Florida primary results the conclusion seems inescapable: Clinton is ominously weak in the Panhandle...Obama also handily won Escambia.

For those of you not from around those parts Escambia County is Pensacola. It's the home of Eglin Air Force Base, heavily veteran and heavily Republican. Now, the primary is closed and I am certainly not implying Republicans voted for Obama. But I find it very interesting.

7 comments:

Jen said...

I thought the results were interesting as well..

Most of n. Florida is effectively s. Georgia, with a lot of Republican-leaning voters. Some media person made some off-handed comment that those Florida counties must have had a larger percentage of AA voters, but from what I recall.. that's just not true. It's mostly white, rural.

griftdrift said...

Absolutely correct Jen. Outside of Leon and Gadsen counties the African American population is negligible. Which may also explain why Edwards did so well in the region.

Sara said...

It was very interesting to me the splits--there were a lot of sparsely populated rural counties where Edwards won and Obama's support was in the teens. Florida is such an interesting hodgepodge of urban areas, mid-level cities, and true southern pockets. It seems only fitting that all 3 candidates would've had multiple counties that they won and others where they got trounced.

Chris said...

Mystery solved: Obama's campaign is on TV big time in the Mobile market of Alabama, something around 1,500 points/week and it started before the Florida primary. The Mobile market includes the 3 most Western counties of the panhandle.

Escambia, Obama got 42% (win)
Santa Rosa, Obama got 26% (third)
Okaloosa, Obama got 35% (second)

Overall, Obama won this market 38% to 34% for Clinton.

Now, compare to the 9 counties to the east in the neighboring Panama City market, where no media was running for any candidate.

Clinton carried this market with 35% of the vote, Edwards was hot on her heels with 32% and Obama actually placed third with 26% of the vote.

As usual, when TV (or media) can be the answer, it is.

griftdrift said...

That's interesting Chris. I wonder if the Obama camp ignored the Panama City market because it's also covered by the Tallhassee market and they knew they had Leon in the bag.

I should have camped out at my South Georgia compound last week and monitored Channel 6.

Chris said...

Well, all of the candidates agreed not to advertise in Florida. The Mobile market is arguably an Alabama market so clearly the intent was to reach Alabama voters but those three Florida counties do watch those ads and were certainly influenced, and Hillary wasn't up in that market pre-Florida.

A little more than 50% of the viewers in the Mobile market live in Alabama, so the Obama campaign can rightly claim that Alabama was its intended target and that the Florida voters just happened to also see it (unintended consequence so to say).

Meanwhile, you can't say the same thing about the Tallahassee-Thomasville market which is watched by 2 Florida households for every Georgia household. You definitely could not say the same thing for the Jacksonville market which is watched by more than 7 Florida households for every Georgia household. In fact, the Georgia part of that market had less than 10,000 voters in the 2004 Presidential primary so it would be a very inefficient way to spend one's advertising dollars.

I don't think Obama was up in Tallhassee-Thomasville (even the Georgia portion of that market) although he was up a little in Albany (which is watched by some in North Florida) although I don't think his buy at that point was big enough to make a difference.

In case I was misinterpreted, I am not claiming that the Obama campaign broke the spirit of the non-compete agreement by being on in the Mobile market. I'm more claiming it as a matter of fact explanation for how he did so well in that market compared to neighboring Panama City.

The biggest surprise for me was John Edwards dropping out after doing pretty well among Republican leaning voters in the Florida primary. I would have figured that meant he could pick up a decent amount of delegates next week in conservative parts of the country without having to spend too much money but we may never know his true intentions (or we may know them soon)...

griftdrift said...

I forgot about the agreement not to campaign in Florida. You're right. Mobile is like reverse Tallahassee. In T-town you advertise and catch south Georgia. In Mobile you advertise and catch west Florida. Florida is always fascinating isn't it?