Florida polls open for US primary

2012-01-31 16:39

Tampa - Polling booths opened in Florida on Tuesday, the largest state so far in the Republican White House race, with Mitt Romney holding a solid lead over Newt Gingrich in the latest polls.

Voting precincts opened early on Tuesday morning, in the winner-take-all Sunshine State, which offers the prize of 50 delegates - the biggest bounty yet in the Republican contest for the chance to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in November.

On the eve of the vote, former Massachusetts governor Romney led former House speaker Gingrich by 13 points, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, although according to one local poll, the gap may be as much as 20 points.

A Romney victory could deliver a crushing blow to Gingrich's campaign following his victory in the South Carolina primary.

The voting comes after a week of brutal campaigning that saw Romney and Gingrich exchange a barrage of negative and increasingly personal attacks.