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Unprecedented InsiderAdvantage/Florida Chamber of Commerce poll to determine the winner of the debate

By Gary Reese

November 27, 2007Mike Huckabee has moved into second place among Republican presidential hopefuls in Florida, according to a new InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll of likely voters in the Jan. 29 GOP Florida primary.  

The poll’s results serve to ratchet up the drama as the Republican candidates prepare to debate on CNN Wednesday night from St. Petersburg, and InsiderAdvantage and the Florida Chamber of Commerce prepare to conduct an unprecedented poll that will determine the winner of the debate. 

Here are the results of the pre-debate poll, conducted Sunday and Monday nights:  

Question: “If the Florida Republican presidential primary election were held today, would you vote for…”  

Rudy Giuliani (26%)
Mike Huckabee (17%)
John McCain (13%)
Mitt Romney (12%)
Fred Thompson (9%)
Ron Paul (3%)
Duncan Hunter (1%)
Tom Tancredo (1%)
Undecided (18%) 

The poll was conducted Nov. 25 and 26 among 675 likely voters in the January Republican primary. It has a margin of error of about three-and-a-half percent.

The data have been weighted for race, age and gender.

Huckabee’s surprise surge into second place in Florida sets the stage for what is expected to be the most critical presidential debate so far.  And InsiderAdvantage and the Florida Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner of the debate shortly after its conclusion with a specially designed poll. 

Because public-survey phone calls are illegal after 9 pm, InsiderAdvantage placed over 100,000 calls to registered Republicans in Florida over the past week-and-a-half, with the criteria of finding undecided registered Republican voters who said they planned to watch the debate, and who agreed to call a special toll-free number immediately after the debate to answer questions about which candidate won the contest. 

Data should be collected by 10:20 pm,” said Jeff Shusterman of Majority Opinion, InsiderAdvantage’s research partners. “We will weight the data for age, gender, and geographic location, and should have results between 10:30 and 10:45.”  

The results will be announced by live webcast on www.southernpoliticalreport.com, and www.insideradvantage.com from the debate site in St. Petersburg, and will be released to the media immediately after. Results will also be posted on Florida Insider.  

“Mike Huckabee’s sudden traction in the GOP race is similar to the jolt of publicity Fred Thompson enjoyed when he officially announced his candidacy,” said Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage and a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate.  

“Now Huckabee must take advantage of the opportunity if he is to separate himself from all the other candidates trying to overtake Giuliani.  

“And Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are now under even more pressure to come up with powerful performances of their own in St. Pete Wednesday,” Towery said. 

Whether they do so will be known almost immediately following the debate, with InsiderAdvantage’s poll results.


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