One could make the argument that the Florida electorate is representative of the country. Selena Zito writing for TownHall.com wrote:
Florida is an interesting microcosm of the Republican voting universe at large: a Southern state with significant Northeastern and Midwestern influences, plus a big chunk of establishment Republicans and evangelicals. It’s a certified political melting-pot.
Assuming this is true, the exit polling for last nights primary gives us some insight into the makeup of the Republican Party; and it is quite different from both stereotype and the self-image.
- Of the people who participated in the primary, 55% of Republicans attend church monthly or less and only 39% considered themselves "born again" Christians or evangelicals. 31% of Democrats described themselves as such. This would hardly suggest that Republicans is the party of Christian conservatives. In fact, almost 30% voting in the primary weren't Christians at all and about the same number of Democrats as Republicans described themselves as born-again/evangelical. Perhaps this last part explains why Huckabee did so well in Iowa...
- 81% have had at least some college and 50% had either completed college or had a post-graduate degree. 75% of Democrats had at least some college.
- 58% of Republicans voting in the Primary favored either a path to citizenship or temporary worker program for illegals: Only 40% favored deporting them all. Nobody asked Democrats what they thought on this issue...
- 69% made less than $100,000 last year; 29% made under $50,000 while 40% made between $50 and $100,000. In contrast, 50% of Democrats voting in the primary made $100,000 or more indicating that Republicans are not really the party of the rich.
- 63% felt that the economy was either not-so-good or poor but only 45% thought the economy was the most important issue.
- 44% felt that abortion should be mostly or always legal. Nobody asked Democrats what their thoughts were on this issue.
- Only 27% self-identified as Very Conservative ideologically.
- No blacks voted in the Republican primary and 12% were latino.
Of those voting for McCain, 32% were either angry or dissatisfied with the Bush Administration: but clearly not about the war on Islamists because no one can mistake McCain for a pacifist in regards to this issue.
McCain picked up 55% of the 8% who self-identified as somewhat liberal; won with 43% of the 28% who self-identified as moderates; and won with 35% of the 34% who self identified as somewhat conservative. He also picked up 21% (to Romney's 44%) of people who self-identified as very conservative.
It is pretty clear that McCain can get the endorsement of the majority of the people who actually make up the Republican Party. It is pretty clear that "Very Conservative" people are in the minority (only 27% in Florida), and McCain gets some of those votes as well, meaning that "Very Conservative" people are not an impediment to his getting nominated or elected.
Given who Republicans really are, it's not a surprise that McCain is on the fast track.