Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Despite banking another $5 million from billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson—OK, technically Adelson's wife—Winning Our Future, the pro-Newt Gingrich super-PAC, is getting trounced by Mitt Romney forces in the ad wars leading up to Florida's primary on Tuesday.
Quoting a "source monitoring the Sunshine State ad war," Politico reports that the Romney campaign and pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future spent $15.3 million on television ads in Florida. That's 450 percent more than Gingrich's campaign and super-PAC Winning Our Future spent on TV ads. And that doesn't include money spent on direct mail sent to voters, get-out-the-vote efforts, and other non-TV campaigning.
In other words, just as Gingrich clinched a double-digit victory in South Carolina after blitzing the airwaves there with ads attacking Romney, Romney and his allies are doing the same in Florida. And boy is it paying off: Romney now leads Gingrich by 12 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Sunday. A separate Miami Herald poll showed Romney trouncing Gingrich among Florida Hispanic voters, 52 percent to 28 percent.
Restore Our Future is already laying the groundwork for Romney wins in other key primary states. According to ProPublica, the deep-pocketed super-PAC has already spent $52,000 attacking Gingrich in Nevada (Feb. 4 caucus), $120,000 attacking him in Arizona (Feb. 28 primary), and $168,000 attacking him in Michigan (Feb. 28 primary). You can bet those sums will increase dramatically in the coming weeks—unless, that is, Gingrich bows out, in which case Restore Our Future and its political guru, Carl Forti, will have done their job.