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Voters turned out, but not turned off

Only diehard Republicans appear to be excited about the GOP convention among Floridians, who, like many other Southerners, are expected to vote heavily for President Reagan. They just don't appear to be interested in a lot of Republican rhetoric.

One longtime Reagan supporter, Memphis lawyer Tom Newton, said he thought ''the Republicans are doing a very good job.'' He said keynote speaker Katherine Ortega's speech ''was received well by the watchers, even though she was cut up by the commentators.''

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But other Southern viewers were less charitable to the Republicans. ''It's mediocre compared to the Democratic convention,'' said Maitland, Fla., homemaker Nancy Loving. ''Nobody is saying anything. They're putting down the Carter administration, but they haven't proposed anything exciting or new.''

''In trying to stick to so many Hispanic and women speakers,'' she said, ''they have watered it all down so much that a lot of people are turning it off. Maybe it just started slow, and it will pick up.''

A Tallahassee, Fla., state government worker said ''the Republican convention just doesn't excite me as much as the Democratic, because it's just a set piece.''

Tampa carpenter Richard Miller said he had to play referee while watching the convention at his in-laws' house. ''My father-in-law was saying, 'Yes, yes, yes, ' and my wife was saying, 'No, no, no.' ''

But like much of the rest of the country, a great many southern TV sets were tuned to local channels or were blank as the convention geared up this week.

''Everyone's so burned out on politics that they're flocking in here to rent home video movies,'' said the owner of a Tampa video rental service. ''Everyone's coming in here and saying, please give me a movie and save me from the convention.''

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