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Florida Primary: Romney Leads Gingrich by 14% After Bombarding Airwaves

Daily Ticker

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Mitt Romney is back, at least for the moment, after a double-digit loss to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican Primary over a week ago. Two polls released ahead of Florida's Tuesday primary show Romney now with a double-digit lead over the former Speaker of the House.

Likely Republicans to vote in the Sunshine state's primary favor Romney over Gingrich 11%, according to a new survey released by American Research Group on Sunday.

The other poll out Monday by Quinnipiac University shows Romney with a 14% lead, or 43% of the vote compared to Gingrich's 29%. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are head-to-head with 11% of the GOP vote in that poll.

Romney's momentum in the state is growing and growing fast. His lead was just 9% at the end of last week, according to a similar survey published by Quinnipiac last Friday.

Yahoo! Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian joined The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task to talk about how Romney has been able to get his "Mitt-Mentum" back.

The primary answer is plain and simple and one of many dollar figures. "He has swamped Newt Gingrich on the television airwaves," says Chalian in the accompanying video.

Romney and his super PAC brethren at Restore Our Future have aired sixty times as many ads in the state as Gingrich and his supporters have, according to a new study by Wesleyan Media Project. More than 12,500 Romney ads have bombarded Floridians, which is a stark contrast to the 210 ads run by the Gingrich-backed super PACs.

The Associated Press estimates that $6.8 million has been spent on pro-Romney ads in Florida in just the final week leading up to the primary vote. The majority of those funds come from Restore Our Future. Gingrich on the other hand has spent just $2.2 million on ads during that same time — $1.5 million of which came from his super PAC Winning Our Future and the remaining from his campaign. (See: Super PACs: What Are They? And The Billionaires Behind Them)

If Romney wins on Tuesday will Ron Paul and Rick Santorum fade into the sunset? Will the narrative of the race shift to Romney versus Obama rather then Romney versus Gingrich?

Chalian does not think the field will shrink from four to two candidates after Tuesday. He believes both Paul and Santorum will stay all the way through Super Tuesday on March 6.

But Chalian does predict the framing of the election could change post-Florida should Romney win and win big. Not only will the Romney campaign begin to pressure the other candidates to close up shop, President Obama's re-election campaign will take the opportunity to get started on what it foresees as the Obama versus Romney November ticket, Chalian predicts.

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