As we did with South Carolina, here — courtesy of Matthew Bloch, a New York Times graphics editor — are county-by-county results from the 2008 Republican primary in Florida for you to follow along with as results are reported tonight.
Mr. McCain won Florida in 2008, narrowly defeating Mitt Romney, 36 percent to 31 percent. Mr McCain did particularly well in the Hispanic-heavy counties at Florida’s southern tip, like Miami-Dade and Broward. His weakest area was Mr. Romney’s strongest: northeast Florida, in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, and the surrounding area. Other than that, Mr. McCain’s vote share was fairly consistent across the state.
If Mr. Romney wins Florida by a significant margin, something north of the high teens or low 20s, his map may essentially look like the best possible combination of his and Mr. McCain’s 2008 maps. That is to say, Mr. Romney may remain strong in the counties surrounding Jacksonville and in the Fort Myers region in the southwest, like Collier County and Lee County, while at the same time matching or nearing Mr. McCain’s 2008 performance in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Hillsborough County, which contains Tampa.
If Newt Gingrich keeps things competitive, his results may look a lot like Mr. Romney’s 2008 results, but perhaps a bit weaker in the Jacksonville area and stronger in the Panhandle, in the counties east and west of Tallahassee (see Mike Huckabee’s map below).
Mr. Huckabee, who got just under 14 percent of the vote statewide, won two counties in the more socially conservative Panhandle: Holmes and Washington. He also won two counties in a rural stretch between Tallahassee and Jacksonville: Suwanee County and Gilchrist County. Rick Santorum will be looking to mirror Mr. Huckabee’s map, but it will be difficult, as Mr. Santorum will be battling Mr. Gingrich for much of the same turf.
Rudolph W. Giuliani
Mr. Giuliani placed third in 2008, but he didn’t win a single county. His best showing was St. Lucie County, which is home to many transplants from the Northeast. Mr. Romney’s apparent strength in Florida this election is partly explained by the fact that he is essentially filling two roles from the 2008 campaign: his own of course, and Mr. Giuliani’s.
Mr. Paul did not campaign in Florida this year, but he still may exceed many if not most of his 2008 benchmarks.