(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain will win the Florida Republican primary, CNN projects based on election results and exit polling, edging out rival Mitt Romney.
John McCain stops at a St. Petersburg polling station with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Tuesday.
With 55 percent of Republican precincts reporting, McCain held a 36-32 percent lead over Romney. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani trailed with 15 percent of the vote, followed closely by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who held 13 percent.
Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the largely uncontested Democratic primary, CNN projected.
With about 54 percent of Democratic precincts reporting, Clinton had 51 percent of the vote. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was in second with 31 percent, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was in third with 15 percent.
The Democratic vote may have little impact on the presidential race, however, because the party's national leadership said it would not allow Florida's delegates to participate in the national convention because of a squabble over scheduling.
Republicans penalized the state as well, but took away only half of their 114 delegates.
"I am thrilled to have had this vote of confidence that you have given me today," Clinton told supporters. "I promise you I will do everything I can to make sure not only are Florida's Democratic delegates seated, but Florida is in the winning column for the Democrats in 2008." Watch how Clinton won in Florida »
Clinton has called on the Democratic Party to formally lift sanctions on the state.
Robert Gibbs, communications director for Obama campaign, downplayed the Florida results and got a dig in at Clinton.
"Mike Gravel is going to get the same number of delegates as Clinton," Gibbs said, referring to the former Alaska senator who has yet to earn a single percentage point in earlier contests.
Gibbs said he thought the results would have little effect on the race heading into Super Tuesday.
"You can't gain momentum in a state that everyone but Hillary Clinton pledged not to campaign in," Gibbs said.
Turnout was high for the Democratic race even though no delegates were at stake. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said about 2.5 million voters cast ballots, and nearly 400,000 people cast early or absentee ballots ahead of the primary.
The economy is overwhelmingly the top issue for voters in Florida's primary, according to early exit polls.
Among Republicans and Democrats, the economy dwarfed other issues affecting their vote. Forty-seven percent of Republicans said the economy is the most pressing issue, as did 55 percent of Democrats.
McCain and Romney appear to be neck-and-neck in the Republican primary. If McCain wins in Florida, his status as the national front-runner will be cemented.
Hard to believe with 47% of R's thinking the economy is the #1 issue that McCain still won...Expect Guiliani to drop out tomorrow after his disastrous 3rd place showing.
tag: republican primary, economy, Florida, vote, Presidential race, McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Guiliani, Verlin Martin, Lord Nazh