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WFLA/SurveyUSA poll: Crist retakes lead, beating Scott 44-40. Huh?

@MarcACaputo

File this one under the category labeled "what?"

Somehow, Democrat Charlie Crist has retaken the lead over Gov. Rick Scott in the latest SurveyUSA poll for Tampa's WFLA NBC affiliate.

Here's what makes Crist's 44-40 percent advantage over Scott odd: the same pollster two weeks ago released a survey showing Crist down 40-42 to Scott, an inside-the-error-margin lead for the Republican just as Crist's lead is inside the margin. And that result, considering other polling like today's PPP survey, made sense because Scott is spending millions on TV already (about $12 million in 12 weeks by now). Crist has spent nothing.

TV ads move the electorate. No TV ads usually don't. 

Even Crist's spokesman, Kevin Cate, seemed puzzled -- or amused -- with the cumulative 6 percentage-point shift.

"Must be all of our $0 on TV vs. RS's $15 mil," Cate said via Twitter.

This could be a one-off, a statistical blip or an inside-the-error margin shift (Crist's lead is still within the MOE). It's definitely odd.

WFLA and SurveyUSA haven't yet posted their crosstabs, so it's not clear where the partisan shifting is occuring, although WFLA reports that Crist is running strong in South Florida. But that's no surprise. It's a Democratic bastion.

Putting aside the inexplicable Crist jump, there's reason for Scott to be concerned with all of the recent polling. Despite the millions he has spent, he looks frozen at 42 to 45 percent support. In the SurveyUSA poll, Scott's numbers haven't budget. In the PPP survey, Scott was also at 42 percent. Yes, if you "unskew" the polls, Scott's numbers will nudge up.

But regardless, it's a sign that Scott has serious -- but not insurmountable -- problems.

Update: The headline had the wrong numbers. Perhaps it's a sign from above to post no more SurveyUSA polls.

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