Florida primary is most negative ever, media group says, as Gingrich and Romney do battle

The mass of men, according to Henry David Thoreau, lead lives of quiet desperation.

But, as anyone in Florida can tell these days, the desperation of presidential hopefuls has been anything but quiet.

CNN cites a report by the Campaign Media Analysis Group according to which 92 percent of all political ads aired in the Sunshine State over the last week were negative.

The organization claims this is a record for political campaigns, according to CNN.

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“I spent much of my academic career telling reporters, 'Relax, this is not the most negative campaign ever,'" CMAG President Ken Goldstein was quoted as saying. "Well, this IS the most negative campaign ever."

CMAG numbers show that of 11,586 television spots aired in Florida between Jan 23 and Jan 29, 10,633 were negative, CNN said, noting that Romney has ever so slightly edged out Gingrich for most negative advertising, leading 99 percent to 95 percent.

However the Gingrich-supporting Super PAC Winning our Future only aired negative ads at a rate of 53 percent.

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According to the news agency Reuters, Romney now enjoys a commanding lead in the latest polls, leading 43 percent to 28 percent for Gingrich.

Quoting words aired yesterday on NBC’s “Today,” CNN said Romney had explained that his campaign had decided to fight fire with fire after his loss earlier this month to Gingrich in South Carolina.

"We were being whaled on by Speaker Gingrich and didn't respond well in South Carolina," Romney was quoted as saying. "So we decided to respond. We made it clear if people want change in Washington you have to bring in someone from outside Washington. Both the change in tactic as well as the message have had a real impact in Florida."

A Public Policy Polling poll put Romney ahead but with a smaller lead at 39 percent to 31 percent.

Citing an announcement on the micro-blogging service Twitter, Politico reported that Gingrich had raised $5 million this month, allowing him to fulfill threats to pursue his campaign up until the nominating convention in August, which will also be held in Florida.

Polls are expected to close in most Florida locations tonight at 7 pm.

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