Image: 137928441
Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images

TODAY   |  January 30, 2012

Romney takes wide lead in new NBC poll

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has taken a wide lead over his rivals in the latest NBC News/Marist poll of Florida voters. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> nbc's political director chuck todd has been kruchbcrunching the latest poll numbers. good morning to you.

>> good morning, ann.

>> romney leads 42% to 27% over gingrich in florida . what's the story of these numbers?

>> it's across the board. there is one thing that's clearly benefitting mitt romney is the issue of e electability. when you ask for the most important quality going in, they say in determining the vote the number one reason they give by the big margin is the ability to beat president obama . among those folks, mitt romney 's lead over gingrich is even larger. he wins on issues, experience. it's aa cross the board. one other thing to point out about florida is there's early vote . mitt romney leads 2 to 1 on the early vote which accounts for so% to 20% of the overall vote.

>> you talked about giving the new tactic credit for his momentum. are you able to discern whether or how voters are influenced by really the negative tone of the race?

>> no. i think we can discern it easily. there's $24 million spent in ten days in the fight for florida . $16 million of it mostly negative ads from mitt romney or mitt romney 's super pac. when you look at the poll, newt gingrich had the highest unacceptable rating -- meaning if he were the nominee would you find that acceptable or unacceptable. it would close to romney or rick santorum . at this point in the campaign you have newt gingrich polling below santorum when matched up against president obama . polling below santorum when asked of republicans who would be an unacceptable nominee. when you put together the math of the tv ads and the polling, this is the impact. it's not just one of the things. it is the thing.

>> bottom line if gingrich doesn't do well in florida , how long can he say in this race?

>> there is no incentive for him to get out. this is not a man who looked down the road four years ago. mitt romney at this point in time four years ago when he lost to john mccain in florida there was a question, and he could have put more of his own money in. he decided, you know, the bert play is to wait for four years. no incentive for newt gingrich . he wants to watch to see. think february will be a tough month for him. not a lot of contests or debates. he wants to see the revenge factor that kicked in after new hampshire and helped in south carolina will kick in one more time and see what happens in march. there are more southern primaries