Nightly News   |  January 30, 2012

Analysis: Romney’s early lead

Mitt Romney leads almost 2:1 in exit polls. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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

>>> we mentioned our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd paying a rare visit to the mothership tonight. first of all about newt gingrich , we are out of the moderating business, i guess.

>> apparently.

>> he kept telling reporters all weekend, look at the national polls where i'm leading. while that may be true, these numbers are moving in florida.

>> reporter: they are. because florida is the one state where there are $16 million of negative ads against newt gingrich , you don't have that in the other 49 states. that is benefitting newt gingrich a little bit. what is interesting about this lead from mitt romney and why it seems so solid going into tomorrow, we learned among folks who voted. 1/3 of floridians voted. he leads almost 2 - 1 , 49-27. the other argument you're going to hear newt gingrich make, the conservative vote is divided. we took second choice rick santorum voters, and assigned them to who their second choice is. they broke evenly, slight advantage mitt romney , 49-33 it tells you a little bit that some of the value voters for santorum are turned off by newt gingrich 's personal history.

>> i heard gingrich all weekend saying this will be wild, woolly and we are in it all what it to the fall, which he is free to say. what is the reality?

>> nobody says they are going to get out. number two, february will be a cold, cruel month. it may be short, but it's going to feel like an eternity for him. there's only four caucuses, proper primaries, no debate for three weeks. newt gingrich lived on this media and now he is relying on some guy in las vegas to keep funding his campaign. at some point he may run out of patience and not write any more checks.

>> always good to see you. nice to have you here with us in new york. chuck todd .