Mitt Romney stormed towards a likely victory in Florida that would all but lock up the Republican presidential nomination, but rival Newt Gingrich promised a bitter fight all the way to the August convention.
Two days before Floridians vote, polls on Sunday showed Romney pulling clear in the Sunshine State after his campaign team went on the offensive, unleashing blistering ads that painted Gingrich as unethical and not fit for office.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and millionaire venture capitalist considered the party establishment’s favourite, was leading Gingrich by 15 points in Florida, 42% to 27%, according to an NBC/Marist poll.
A new Miami Herald poll showed Gingrich behind by 11 points. Hoping to finish off his rival, Romney renewed his assault before a crowd of several hundred supporters in an affluent Naples shopping center.
Despite the polls, Gingrich said he expected a close race in Florida, which will be a key battleground in the November general election, pitting President Barack Obama, a Democrat, against the eventual Republican nominee.