POSTED: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 11:11am
UPDATED: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 7:43am
Exit polls suggest that Romney has a decisive lead, but Gingrich may be right on his tail.
Florida votes today, and Mitt Romney's got a double-digit lead there when you average all the recent polls. The latest ones show Newt Gingrich catching up.
The polls open at 7am, and we already know what half a million Florida voters are thinking. They've already cast their ballots. And among those early voters, exit polls suggest Mitt Romney is leading 2 to 1.
"I need your vote tomorrow! Get out there and vote! Let's keep America the hope of the Earth,” exclaimed GOP Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney.
He's got reason to feel confident.
Rasmussen puts Romney ahead by 16 points. NBC and Reuters: 15. Quinnipiac: 14. Suffolk University gives him a 20-point lead.
Romney and his super-pac are bombarding the state with ads, most of them negative. They've outspent Newt Gingrich supporters 4 to 1.
It's part of Romney’s new game plan: Gingrich swings, Romney swings back -- harder. "He's been flailing around a bit trying to go after me for one thing or the other and you just watch and you shake your head. It's, it's been kind of painfully revealing to watch," said Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate
"We're going to beat money power with people power. We're going to go all the way to the convention," proclaimed Newt Gingrich, (R) Presidential Candidate.
Gingrich may be closing the gap. In two weekend polls, he's down by just 5 to 7 points. "With your help we are going to win a decisive victory." Newt Gingrich/ (R) Presidential Candidate
Gingrich is going after conservatives, criss-crossing the state with Ronald Reagan’s son and former rival Herman Cain: "My only expectation is to be able to help him win the nomination and the White House," said Herman Cain, (R) Presidential Candidate.
But Republicans in Florida seem worried about electability - not just who wins the state today, but who can win in November.
Polls indicate that Mitt Romney has the edge there. Gallup has him virtually tied with President Obama in battleground states. Gingrich loses to Obama by 14 points.
Tracie Potts, NBC News.