• Romney Expected to Win Big in Fla., Gingrich Expected Not to Care

    [WARNING: This post contains spoilers for tonight's primary results.]

    All across the Florida peninsula, voters in bedazzled fluorescent speedos and flame-embroidered roller skates (as is my understanding of the average Floridian) are rolling into polling stations and cranking levers to the pounding syncopated rhythm of an infectious electro-Latin beat. That's right! It's Republican primary day in the Sunshine State!

    Now, obviously, we can't possibly know for certain who will win the state's 50 delegates. It's a very exciting day, and it's anybody's game. That said, we do know that Mitt Romney is definitely without a doubt going to win

    The shift away from Newt Gingrich in the Florida polls has been as significant as the one toward him in South Carolina. The first two polls released after South Carolina showed Mr. Gingrich with a lead of 8 and 9 points, respectively. But the news has gotten worse for him almost every day, and he trails Mitt Romney by nearly 15 points in the final FiveThirtyEight forecast of the Florida primary…

    Mr. Gingrich, however, has not held the lead in any Florida poll in roughly a week, and his odds of pulling off an upset are extremely slim. The FiveThirtyEight forecast model gives him just a 3 percent chance of victory.

    Ooof! Down by fifteen points. Three percent chance of winning. And all Mitt Romney had to do to achieve this massive romping was carpet bomb Florida with unprecedentedly negative campaign and outspend Newt Gingrich by 500 percent. Whoa. Is it really that easy to pull off a victory?

    Things certainly are not looking very good going forward for Gingrich, are they? Luckily, he has an ace up his sleeve, in the form of a complete lack of giving-a-shit-iness

    At a visit to a polling station in Orlando, I asked Newt Gingrich how much longer the battle for the Republican nomination will go on. He told me "six or eight months" and then added: "unless Romney drops out earlier."

    When I asked what he says to those who say the race will effectively be over if he loses big in Florida, Gingrich said, "You mean those who said I was dead in June? Those who said I was dead in December? They are about as accurate as they were the last two times they were wrong."

    So, regardless of all the myriad of all the hundreds of dozens of possible outcomes of today's election results, it looks like primary season 2012 will go on long after the candidates have left the good people of Florida to go back to their regular lives full of coke-fueled salsa dancing parties with flamingos and whatnot.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Florida, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Polls, Primaries, Republicans

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