January 31st, 2012
12:46 PM ET
2 years ago

Florida primary 'the most negative campaign ever,' says media group

(CNN) - Nope, it's not your imagination. The 2012 Republican contest in Florida has been the most negative campaign on record, according to a group tracking political ads in the Sunshine State.

The analysis from Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) shows a whopping 92% of ads airing in Florida over the past week were negative. The organization said Tuesday that was a record rate for political campaigns.

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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 said. "Well, this IS the most negative campaign ever."

Numbers from CMAG show a total of 11,586 television spots aired in Florida between January 23 and January 29. Of those spots, 10,633 were negative and 953 were positive.

Of the 1,012 spots Newt Gingrich's campaign ran, 95% were negative. Mitt Romney's campaign ran 3,276 ads and 99% were negative.

The two super PACs supporting the top candidates were more divergent in their ad strategies. Restore our Future, supporting Romney, ran 4,969 spots, all of which were negative. The Gingrich-backing Winning our Future ran 1,893 spots, and only 53% were negative.

Correspondingly, the bulk of ads in Florida - 68% - were negative toward Gingrich. Twenty-three percent were anti-Romney spots. Gingrich got support from 9% of ads while pro-Romney spots accounted for less than 0.1%.

Florida's contest, which comes to a head Tuesday as voters head to the polls, has been marked by negative campaigning from the two frontrunners.

Romney has acknowledged his campaign entered Florida with a renewed mission to discredit Gingrich after the rival candidate won South Carolina's primary decisively.

On NBC's "Today" Monday, Romney said his campaign decided to respond in kind to negative attacks from Gingrich.

"We were being whaled on by Speaker Gingrich and didn't respond well in South Carolina," Romney said. "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."

For his part, Gingrich bemoaned the negative attacks from Romney Monday, saying they were "pathetic."

"What a pathetic situation to be running for the President of the United States with nothing positive to say for yourself," Gingrich said. "And nothing available, a big idea, big vision, a big future, and all you got to do is try to tear your opponent down to where they get smaller than you are. That's the Romney model. Now that's not my model. My model is to talk about big solutions."

CNN's Robert Yoon and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Florida
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. johen

    look at the losers the gop has,explains all negitivity

    January 31, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. chris s

    Very scary. I really look at this and wonder how romney will run this country . If he wins I feel sorry for us who are not millionaires.

    January 31, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "What a pathetic situation to be running for the President of the United States with nothing positive to say for yourself," Gingrich said. "And nothing available, a big idea, big vision, a big future, and all you got to do is try to tear your opponent down to where they get smaller than you are. That's the Romney model. ...."
    ---------
    Good call, Mr. Gingrich. Mitt Romney's practicing up on tearing down for Pres. Obama. He's been trying to do that for months and months now.

    January 31, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The republican politics of division and hate is alive in the Romney campaign. If you believe he will unite the country after destroying the GOP party, you have to be dumber than a box of hammers.

    January 31, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    The sad thing is, it won't get any better from here. And it gives you a preview of the fall campaign.

    January 31, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. 60's survivor

    A sad state if affairs. I dread the negative campaign full of misinformation this fall.

    January 31, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    and certain judges on the SCOTUS are just sitting back, having little to NO shame for what they have done and are soaking it all in.

    January 31, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Ben Dover

    Republicans= the best government THEY can buy...

    January 31, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Gurgi

    @Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:

    Gee – I wonder which party's candidates are re going to benefit from this money?
    ---–
    The Toga Party.

    Hilarious Rudy!!!!!! As a big fan of Animal House when it came out, your comment had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair.

    January 31, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Bryce

    How can anyone think that THIS GUY can beat Obama in November?
    Newtards, if you aren't sick of his incessant whining yet, how do you think he'll sound against Obama? Complaining about how Obama will have more money to campaign than him and name-calling Obama as a "liar" on every Fox News show isn't going to win him a general election. 
    Want to know the fundamental difference between Romney/Paul and Gingrich/Santorum? It's not conservatism... It's they both stack up well in polls against Obama and Mitt and Ron have gotten licked by negativity and never whined about it!! Mans game. Play or shut up! I am so sick of his constant complaints about lies when he lies just as bad if not worse. Seriously, THIS GUY?!!

    January 31, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Fla.Pete

    POTUS Obamas associates are taking notes,beware..His staff is getting ready for either one of the Republican nitwits that will challenge him,if there is a challenge.The Repubs are counting their chickens long before they're hatched,excellent stratagey.Obama will raise that money without negative ads,something the Repubs are not used to like in 08.Remember who the organizer is,Obama ,wrote the book on that subject...

    January 31, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It is time for Obama to accept the responsibility of saving the American auto industry and a million jobs, being responsible for the lowest tax rates in 50 years, 23 consecutive months of private sector job growth; the end of bin Laden, Ghaddify most of the al Qaida leadership and a dozen or so Somali pirates; helping millions stay on their parent's health care policy, bringing our troops out of Iraq, the stock market going from under 7000 to over 12000, cash for clunkers to keep those republican car dealerships open, and the creation of 3 million jobs.

    January 31, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. JohnT

    Look at all you people making fun of these candidates. At least they speak the truth and aren't going around talking about "HOPE" and "CHANGE". I have a feeling that as emotional the campaign has begun, these candidates will actually fo what they say. Obama had his chance. He failed us. Im giving the GOP a shot this time

    January 31, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. AliceFromFlorida

    Newt, your going to lose because of your own choices. Romney simply highlighted your life and now you've self-imploded

    January 31, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I will vote for Obama's Hope and Change before voting for the gloom and doom of the republican class warfare crowd.

    January 31, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Samuel Bogale and Kathy Stumm-Bogale Calgary Alberta

    It is unfortunate that in today's world negativity seems to win out!

    January 31, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. RINO Bil

    Just wait until you see the campaign the Republican-Tea Party wages against Obama. It will make this one look like a love fest.

    January 31, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. anagram_kid

    To see one of the primary sources of the ‘politics of personal destruction’ Mr. Gingrich need look no further than the nearest mirror. At the risk of being crass, it is as if he vomited in your living room and then told you the smell of your house makes him sick. I look forward to his return to the private sector in the coming months.

    January 31, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Mr. Moderate

    And I like how the Republicans keep saying "Obama has nothing to run on, so all he will do is attack his opponents" Pot meet kettle....

    January 31, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Bob

    "Look at all you people making fun of these candidates. At least they speak the truth"

    oh give me a break fool.

    The Pukes are lying every damned time they open their mouths. Are you REALLY that stupid as to believe their crap?

    January 31, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. unsub

    as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, will president Obama win a second term!

    January 31, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. mike proctor

    If Romney and his super pac think President Obama will fall apart like Gingrich did he got a rude awaken. This man have nothing to offer to this Country because he has no clue of how relugar people live in the real world. Yes he stated that he has the right business mind to turn this econmoy around for this Country. Like he did the companies when he was CEO for the Bains Corporation. I will vote for President Obama again because he has shown he is worth my vote again and I'm not stupid like some people who think this mess we are in can be turn around in four year. Also listen very carefully what the republicans/tea-bagger have to offer. I remember the election in November 2010 and they (republicans/tea-baggers) punk everybody who believe in their BS.

    January 31, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. ObamaFlop

    You're Next Obama......Signed Mitt Romney.

    January 31, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. westward

    And this is exactly what you'd get if you voted for these guys – a negative results president. These are not your only choices, people.

    January 31, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    "Hilarious Rudy!!!!!! As a big fan of Animal House when it came out, your comment had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair."
    ------
    He has his moments – with comedy, anyway.

    January 31, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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