Secret straw poll: Clinton; Edwards stongest in FL
Could John Edwards be the real competition for Hillary Clinton? That's what an unofficial and unauthorized straw poll by taken at the Florida Democratic convention last weekend seems to suggest. Marvin and Shelley Quittner received back 703 ballots(at least 10 more are outstanding), which asked people to pick their top choice as well as their top four choices.
For the top choice question, only three candidates got at least 15% of the vote, the threshold for winning delegates: Hillary Clinton, with 296, Barack Obama with 110, and John Edwards with 108. That was followed by Al Gore with 82; Dennis Kucinich with 45; Bill Richardson with 31; Joe Biden with 20; Mike Gravel with 7 and Chris Dodd with 2.
Then Quittner, a retired lawyer from Plantation, eliminated Gore and assigned the Gore voters secondary choices to one of the candidates showing 15 percent viability. The result? Clinton 323(46%); Edwards 140 (20%); and Obama (17%). Finally, he assigned the top choices of all the also-rans to Clinton, Edwards and Obama: Clinton 359 (51%); Edwards (25%); Obama (20%).
"Edwards is Hillary's real threat, and if Edwards picks up any one of the first two or three races - Iowa, South Carolina or wherever he could pull tight," concluded Quittner, who also was surprised at how geographically diverse Clinton's Fl support was. For instance: Pinellas - 11 for Clinton, 8 for Obama, 1 for Edwards; Duval - 16 for Clinton, 6 for Obama, 2 for Edwards; Broward -38 for Clinton, 8 for Obama, 8 for Edwards, Lee-15 for Clinton, 4 for Obama, 6 for Edwards.
Scientific? Not a bit. Interesting? Sure, with more than 700 responses from hard core Florida Democrats.