Romney's not going to be able to outspend Obama four to one

Romney has carpet-bombed the early primary states with advertising. In Florida alone, pro-Romney groups outspent pro-Gingrich groups by a nearly 5-to-1 ratio. Some estimate more. Kantar reports Romney and his allies spent $12 million on Florida ads compared to $1.8 million, spent by Gingrich and his allies, as of Sunday. Fox News’ “Special Report” cited a ratio nearer to 3-to-1, $17.8 million compared to $5.4 million. Regardless of the precise figures, Romney is overwhelming Gingrich on the airwaves. He would be lucky to match Obama dollar-for-dollar in a general election.

Romney’s recovery in the GOP race is, however, owed to more than money. Gingrich briefly led in Florida after South Carolina. Yet Romney owned the airwaves then too. Pro-Romney groups aired ads almost 13,000 times on broadcast television across the state compared to about 200 times by pro-Gingrich groups, as of Wednesday, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. But Gingrich was still then in contention…

That’s the bite of Romney’s likely victory tonight. In the general election, Republicans will face a more practiced, more disciplined and equally financed opponent. Gingrich should be the easy part. Yet it will remain hard. Gingrich is not going away. On money and performance, we have seen how one Republican after another can lose the race. Romney still has to prove he can win it.