St. Petersburg Times:
Not only do Florida Democrats say that the Democratic presidential contenders’ boycott of their primary had little effect, but an overwhelming plurality want the officially meaningless results to count, a new St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll finds.And it looks bad for the Democratic party's nominee if Florida's delegates aren't seated:
A record 1.75-million Florida Democrats voted in the Jan. 29 primary, which Hillary Rodham Clinton won by 17 percentage points, but as punishment for holding the primary earlier than allowed by the national party, no delegates were at stake. Now, as a nomination stalemate looms, the candidates and state and national party leaders are struggling to figure out how and if America’s biggest swing state can have a voice in the Democratic nomination.
"If there’s one thing that this survey says is you have to acknowledge the Jan. 29 primary on some level," said pollster Tom Eldon. "You really can’t say the Florida primary was a non-event to voters. It was a non-event to Howard Dean according to the rules of the DNC.”
Twice as many Clinton supporters -- 56 percent -- want the Florida primary to count as do Obama supporters -- 27 percent. Still, even among Obama supporters, the idea of counting that primary is slightly more popular than holding a new election or dividing Florida’s delegates evenly between the two candidates.
More than three out of four Florida Democrats say it’s “very important” that Florida’s delegates count toward the nomination, and one in four said they would be less likely to support the ultimate Democratic nominee if Florida’s delegates don’t count.John Murtha has endorsed Sen. Clinton.
The Johnstown Democrat’s announcement comes as both Clinton and Democratic front-runner Barack Obama set up shop in Pennsylvania in preparation for the state’s important April 22 primary.
“I’ve known Sen. Clinton for 15 years,” Murtha said in a statement released by his campaign committee.
“I know that she continually reaches out for opinions and ideas, not just from our nation’s leaders, but from all Americans.”
Murtha is one of the most powerful Democrats in the House, and his endorsement could carry weight in the 12th Congressional District, where he has served for 34 years.[...]
“In 10 months, President Bush will leave office. Our country is worse off today than when he took office over seven years ago,” Murtha said. “Senator Clinton is the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy and the war in Iraq.”