This Isn’t Being Driven by Money. Except It Is.

During an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Mitt Romney claimed this election isn't being driven by money. According to him, it's being driven by message and a connection with voters, both of which he does not enjoy the benefits of. This can be seen in the fact that he hasn't moved above the mid-20% range in any poll to date.

"Speaker Gingrich, I think announced that he raised $10 million this quarter. And he ought to be proud of that! We're working hard to raise funds as well. This is an election, however, that's not being driven by money raised. It's being driven by message, and connection with voters, and debates. Experience. I think those are the features that are driving the campaign so far, and I think they will be through the entire process."

Romney's assertion that he is connecting to voters with a strong message rather than strong spending is also countered by spending data showing unprecedented spending by outside groups, and the primary benefactor of that spending is Mitt Romney.

New outside spending groups, dubbed super PACs, that can accept unlimited donations from corporations and wealthy individuals, spent $12.9 million in Iowa and other early GOP battleground states through New Year’s Day, according to an analysis of federal data.

The top beneficiary was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. A total of $4.6 million was spent to help the nominal front-runner, the vast majority for ads torpedoing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Second was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who benefited from $3.7 million in outside spending. [...]

The top super PAC spender was "Restore Our Future" — the ambiguously named group set up to help Romney. The group spent $4.1 million, all of it in opposition to Gingrich, who enjoyed a brief lead in Iowa polls last month before the shellacking.

The question seems to be -- can money overcome "anyone-but-Romney?"

So far, the answer seems to be yes. And if Mitt Romney manages to win the primary today, we'll know that for sure.