Democracy 2012: The importance of Florida in the race for the White House

Expect a flood of robo-calls, negative TV ads

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - All eyes are on Florida.

The winner of the primary will have huge momentum going into the month of February, when there are eight contests to fight for. For now, though, what does it take to be crowned winner in the Sunshine State?

Three different winners at three different primaries: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, are putting all their effort into impressing Republican voters this week in Florida. It's the candidates' first big state to tackle, with many media markets and a diverse population.

"It'll be the first state with a large Latino population, large Jewish population, large senior citizen population, a large veteran and active duty military population, so Florida is a super state," said Dr. Robert Watson, political analyst for WPTV NewsChannel 5.

Florida is so big you can't sit in diners and shake everyone's hands. Political experts say you have to spend and spend some more.

"Four years ago, you needed a minimum of $4 million dollars to sit down and win the Republican primary in this state. This year, it's got to be higher than that," said Sid Dinerstein, Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman.

Experts say aside from the influx of nasty TV ads you're going to see this week, you can expect "robo-calls" disguised as surveys. They say don't buy them. They're really attack ads.
 
"Fasten your seat belts. We are going to get hit. We are going to be inundated with nasty ads," warned Dr. Watson.
 
Whoever comes out on top in our state's primary on January 31, experts say they will have the advantage in fundraising and momentum, as they look to the rest of the country for votes.
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