BRADENTON -- Continuing its effort to become a more important state in terms of deciding the 2012 presidential nominee, the GOP of Florida is planning a major straw poll later this year. Party officials say the poll will be conducted at their 5th annual "Presidency" convention to be held in Orlando Sept. 23-25.
The state party has maintained its position that it intends to conduct its primary ahead of the national party's scheduled date, making it the 5th primary race or caucus of the 2012 presidential election, setting up a possible showdown that could result in the national GOP penalizing the state delegates at its convention.
Since Florida now has 29 electoral votes as a result of the 2010 census, most electoral analysts consider it a must-win for any successful Republican nominee in the general election. Florida is now tied for third in terms of electoral votes and is the only swing state in those top four states, making it the the biggest uncertain victory for either party's nominee
Thus, the thinking goes, anyone who secures that nomination should have to win Florida and being too late in the schedule makes it possible that the nomination could, for the most part, already be decided by strong showings in the earlier races that force some candidates out of the race. Therefore, a meaningful straw poll in this state could give a good indication as to any nominee's chances against President Obama in the fall and therefore influence the vote of Republicans in other earlier states as well, if they are soured on a candidate that is shown less likely to have success in the Sunshine State.
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