Friday, March 21, 2008

Florida to Democrats: Count us or lose support

Florida to Democrats: Count us or lose support
Tue Mar 18, 2008

MIAMI (Reuters) - One in four Florida Democrats said they would be less likely to support the party's nominee in the November presidential election if the state's primary election results are ignored, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

In the poll of 600 registered and frequent Democratic voters, 89 percent said it was important Florida's delegates count in the party's presidential nominating convention. Twenty-four percent said they would be less likely to vote for the Democratic nominee if Florida delegates are not seated.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates because the two states violated party rules and held their primary elections early in order to exercise more clout in the selection process.

The poll was conducted Saturday through Monday by Schroth, Eldon & Associates for The Miami Herald, the St. Petersburg Times and the Bay News 9 television station. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

More than 1.7 million Florida Democrats voted in the state's January 29 primary, setting a record in the state that decided the 2000 presidential election by 537 votes and put Republican President George W. Bush into the White House.

Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton won in both Florida and Michigan and has called for seating the delegates from both states. Rival Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who leads the delegate count in the race to run against Republican John McCain in November, has said he hopes a fair resolution can be reached.

The Florida Democratic Party ruled out a re-vote on Monday and was still trying to work out an agreement with the national party.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton, editing by Todd Eastham)

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