Big win, no love for Romney

     Mitt Romney might have won the Florida Primary, but he hasn’t won the hearts of Valencia students.
“Hell, no!” said Sara Thompson when she learned of Romney’s win, with 46 percent of the vote.
“We don’t like Romney,” echoed Brady Algir, a philosophy major. Thompson, a music production major, and Algir are both ardent Ron Paul supporters.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Paul had claimed seven percent, putting him in fourth behind Rick Santorum (14 percent) and Newt Gingrich (32 percent). But among 18-29 year-olds, Paul came in second with 25 percent, behind Romney’s 46 percent and just ahead of Gingrich’s 21 percent. Santorum stayed steady with 14 percent.
Despite Paul’s frequently poor placement in primaries, his supporters maintain their fervor.
“Ron Paul is the only one who can beat Obama,” said Algir, who favors Paul because of his realistic approach to issues like the treatment of drug addicts with therapy, rather than criminal charges.
Some students were willing to acknowledge Paul’s flaws and the long odds stacked against him, but still expressed their support.
“I look at Ron Paul as the lesser evil,” said Sean Nelson.
Romney was the favorite going into the primary, with a projected double-digit advantage. He captured the votes of Florida’s 50 delegates, the biggest win so far for a candidate.
Many Valencia students remained apathetic about the primary results.
“I don’t like any of the Republican candidates,” said Shirley Riddle, a nursing major, adding that no matter who wins, she will be voting for President Obama.
Florida is a closed primary state, and only Florida residents who are registered as Republicans were able to vote. This perhaps contributes to the low level of interest and participation among students, many of whom are registered as independents.
An estimated two million of Florida’s four million registered Republicans cast votes. Hispanic voters turned out in record numbers. Romney, who only captured 14 percent of Hispanic votes in the 2008, surged among the demographic this year, with 54 percent of Hispanic votes.
Romney captured 44 percent of the white vote. His share was lowest among married men, with only 36 percent of that vote. Gingrich was right behind with 34 percent of votes among married men, but a distant 28 percent to Romney’s 51 percent among married women.
Romney leads the delegate count with 87, but is still far from the requisite 1,144 to nab the nomination.