Editor's note: Today the Daily News Staff and Marco Eagle Staff will be conducting exit polls throughout the day at area precincts. The results are based on voters willing to share how they voted. Vignettes from polling places follow:
Republican presidential primary
• Mitt Romney - 130
• John McCain - 91
• Rudy Giuliani - 49
• Mike Huckabee - 24
• Ron Paul - 5
• Fred Thompson - 4
Democratic presidential primary
• Hillary Clinton - 75
• Barack Obama - 27
• John Edwards - 19
• Joe Biden - 2
Property Tax Amendment
• FOR - 438
• AGAINST - 82
Naples Mayor's Race
• Bill Barnett - 61
• Henry Kennedy - 7
Bonita Springs Mayor's Race
• Ben Nelson - 116
• Jay Arend - 71
• Bob Vandergrift - 30
• Michael Fulker - 17
Naples City Council Candidates Race
• Teresa Heitman - 41
• John Sorey - 36
• Dee Sulick - 30
• Johnny Nocera - 18
• Dorothy Hirsh - 16
• Gloria Kovacs - 10
Marco Island city council
• Frank Recker - 58
• Jerry Gibson - 52
• Wayne Waldack- 52
• Bill Trotter - 49
• Joe Batte - 29
• Andrew Guidry - 28
• Francis ‘Butch’ Neylon - 29
• Roger Hall - 26
* -- Results were compiled from:
• 15 voters at precinct 193, United Church of Marco Island
• 37 voters at precinct 61, Bonita Recreation Center
• 11 voters at precinct 149, St. Mary's Episcopal Church
• 25 voters at precincts 192 and 196, Mackle Park
• 11 voters at precinct 195, Jewish Congregation of Marco Island
• 5 voters at precinct 194, Marco Lutheran Church
• 20 voters at precinct 190, Marco Presbyterian Church
• 25 voters at precinct 327, Golden Gate Community Center
• 10 voters at precinct 474, Norris Center
• 8 voters at precinct 464, Moorings Presbyterian Church
• 2 voters at precinct 157, East Naples Library
• 24 voters at precinct 460, Naples United Church of Christ
• 25 voters at precinct 134, in Bonita Springs
• 12 voters at precinct 313, Golden Gate Fire Station;
• 25 voters at precincts 129 and 131, Karl Drews Community
• 11 voters at precinct 137, Hope Lutheran Church
• 103 voters at precinct 157, Bonita Springs Community Hall
• 16 voters at precinct 61, Bonita Springs Recreation Center
• 13 voters at precinct 468, Grace Lutheran
• 11 voters at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Marco Island
• 12 voters at precinct 154, St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church
• 11 voters at St. Ann's Catholic Church, 985 3rd Street South
• 9 voters at Estero Community Park
• 7 voters from precinct 462, St. John's Episcopal Church
• 57 voters were surveyed after early voting
Scenes from the Polls
• Naples resident Dan Olsen flew in from Chicago just to vote this week. Olsen is a registered voter in Florida, but lives part time in Chicago. He said Tuesday he wanted to come down and cast a vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. "He's going to win Illinois," Olsen said. "He needed my vote here, rather than up there."
• A steady stream of BMWs and gleaming SUVs pulled in and out of the Estero Recreation Center parking lot during the noon hour today – Precinct 132 voters stopping in to cast ballots before lunch. A volunteer was manning the front door, telling voters to turn off their cell phones and pull out their photo IDs on the way in, then he'd look up at the clear blue sky and wonder out loud if the building's long shadow would keep him cool the rest of his shift.
"Hillary," said Kay Midkiff, 69, leaving the precinct after voting. "I felt like of all the candidates, she was probably the most qualified."
Jolene and Jim Alexander stopped off to vote on the way to the doctor's office. Republicans both, they said they were wooed by John McCain's experience. Mainly, Jolene Alexander said, she's worried about the economy. "Everything's such a mess now, the only thing you can do is vote."
Dick Malson was seated on a bench by the front door drawing on a cigarette after voting for Mitt Romney. He overheard 71-year-old Jim Alexander tell a reporter that he lives in Shadow Wood and works as an independent consultant, prompting Malson to quip, "Nobody works in Shadow Wood."
Alright, so, Malson on the candidates: "I didn't like McCain. He seems too liberal ... Romney has a good shot at it."
Malson on the biggest issues this year: "Probably Iraq and taxes."
On the war: "We're going to stay until we win."
On the economy: "Lower taxes, less regulation, leave business alone."
Malson's job: Manufactures nuts and bolts.
Malson's home: Shadow Wood. He explains, I'm semi-retired.
• Only a few voters were waiting for the polls to open at the Norris Center this morning in downtown Naples, and they were waiting inside because of the cold weather.
Dick Dahnke is a volunteer poll worker at precinct 474, and he will be working during all 12 hours of voting today.
"It's granola bars, and cold coffee," Dahnke said, when asked what he might have to eat while working.
• Naples City Council candidate John Sorey was at precinct 460, Naples United Church of Christ, starting at 7:30 a.m. because it is the biggest precinct in the city.
At 8:45 a.m., Sorey said turnout seemed to be less than four years ago.
"It's probably 50 percent of what it was four year ago," Sorey said. "It's probably the weather."
• There was a steady flow of 50 voters at Precinct 134 in Bonita Springs in first hour the polls were open.
Many voters came to vote for change.
Several firefighters were outspoken about voting “No” for Amendment 1 which will reduce property taxes but could cut services.
In the presidential race, Steve Thomas, a true Republican, said he voted for John McCain but said come November he’s switching his vote to Barack Obama, if he gets the nomination.
“I’m gonna cross party lines,” said Thomas, a Bonita Springs resident. “This country needs a change.”
• Eric Keefe voted yes on Amendment 1 for the potential savings to the taxpayer.
“I think people might not see (the savings) at first but it’s going to help in the long run. Being able to transfer the homestead will help out in Florida.”
Sarah Benitez, 27, stuck with Mike Huckabee, her first choice in the presidential primary even though she doesn’t think he’ll win Florida.
“I really like his views on illegal immigration and he has some other issues, like his stand on abortion rights. I don’t like Romney but I’ll be OK with McCain too.”
• Support for the property tax amendment, presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton and a close race for Bonita Springs’ mayor marked the first three hours of polling at the Bonita Springs Recreation Center today.
In an unscientific exit poll conducted from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. the property tax amendment’s supporters made a strong showing with 38 votes in favor and six opposed.
“I figured that if you didn’t take what you could get as a start, you wouldn’t get anything,” said Solon Studdard, 84, of Bonita Springs about the tax amendment.
The Bonita mayor’s race ran neck and neck among those polled with incumbent Jay Arend and Ben Nelson pulling down 19 votes each. The other candidates weren’t even close with Bob Vandegrift catching four votes and Michael Fulker getting one.
Republican John McCain trailed Mitt Romney at in the local polls by five votes with 25 Republican voters responding to questions.
“I voted for McCain because he says what he really believes,” said Bonita Springs resident Jan McGriff, who would only give her age as more than 70.
Democratic voters said they voted for Hillary Clinton because of her experience.
“She has the experience that Obama doesn’t,” said voter Jeanette Robb, 64. “I’d have to wait four more years to vote for Obama.”
Hillary Clinton ran ahead of Barack Obama and John Edwards by five votes with her opponents receiving two each by 10 a.m.
“I’m 100 percent for Hillary,” said Bonita Springs voter Jim Mauber, 67. “I’m essentially a liberal Democrat and I agree with her stance on many issues.
“Edwards is not a populist and Obama is a rock star without experience and a disaster.”
An 80-voter turnout in the morning pleased Diane Longo, elections clerk at Precinct 61.
“We had a lot of early voting,” Longo said. “If we didn’t have early voting we would have been slammed before people had to go to work. This way it is steady.”
Of the more than 45 voters leaving the polling place who would take part in the poll, six described themselves as independents. Two who identified themselves as republicans said they did not vote in the primary and would vote democratic in the November election.
• Perched just more than 100 feet from the entrance of Precinct 165, First Assembly Ministries in Estero, three firefighters in yellow t-shirts were variously hoisting overhead or propping in the grass their “Vote No on 1” signs. They'd get the thumbs up from voters pulling out of the parking lot in cars and minivans, or a long, hard honk and fist-pump of support from a yellow bus driver hauling down River Ranch Road.
Then a guy in a boat of a Chrysler pulls up to a stop sign across the street, sticks his fist out the window and jams his thumb down. Hard.
The firefighters in their yellow union t-shirts call out for him to have a nice day.
"That's the thing is some of these people are just not even educated," David Russell, 38, had said a few minutes earlier. One woman at another polling locale had confronted him: "She's like, 'How do you justify paying $600 for a toilet seat?' I'm like, where'd that come from?"
"That's the federal government," laughed Glen Brownlee, 37, a fire lieutenant in Estero.
Their spiel, when asked to deliver it, is that the amendment wouldn't save homeowners a heck of a lot of money, but it would cost firefighters and other local emergency service personnel their jobs. Which could in turn, they say, prolong response times.
"Why no on One? I thought it was going to lower everybody's taxes," a man in jeans and a brown t-shirt says, walking up to the firefighters before heading into the church to vote.
Brownlee runs down his list of reasons, hands over an informational card. "No," the voter says, "give it to the next guy. I'm convinced."
It was getting toasty standing in the sun, but some union folks had just dropped by with pizza. It went over well with the firefighters. Now a couple bottles of Gatorade lay in the grass. They'd chat, mainly about Amendment 1 and how much its supporters spent on advertising. They'd wave at drivers, who would by and large wave back, out of friendliness if nothing else.
"I guarantee they're bad-mouthing us," Brownlee said as one vehicle of unsmiling voters puttered by. "Guarantee."
"They'll complain about saving a couple bucks but they're driving around in Mercedes and Cadillacs," Russell said.
• Some Marco Island voting sites saw about 200-300 people by mid-afternoon and poll workers said they thought turnout would be high considering past elections.
"Turnout is better than the last time," said Peter Clapp, a poll worker at Precinct 195, the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. "We're having a constant flow instead of having the afternoon off. We've been having a steady stream."
In the city council election for four open seats, exit polls show voters are sticking primarily to either a slate of four pro-sewer candidates or anti-sewer candidates, reflecting the sewer program's polarity on the island.
In the presidential primary race, exit polls show a majority of Republicans backing John McCain, Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani.
"I just think he's the best candidate," said Dennis McGrath, 42, after casting his vote for Giuliani outside Marco's Mackle Park. "I don't know if Giuliani has a chance, but I figure every vote counts."
The on the Democratic side the race was much slower. Alison Antaramian, 20, was voting for the first time and selected Barack Obama, calling him "charismatic."
• Around 6 p.m., Peter Amidon strolled out of Naples utility building to take a break. The polling place had been open since 7 a.m., and Amidon, president of the Downtown Naples Kiwanis Club, had been there since 6 a.m. Amidon was one of several Kiwanis club members working the polls Tuesday. The club has adopted precinct 475, and has been manning the polls there for the past few years.
Turnout on Tuesday, Amidon said, has been unexpectedly high.
"This is the biggest turnout we've had since we've done it," he said. "We got a good steady turnout."
Amidon said Kiwanis club members donate the money they earned manning the polls, and use election day as one of their big fund-raisers of the year.
"It's a nice thing to do," he said.
Check back at naplesnews.com and marconews.com all day for the latest results from the polls