Democrat Charlie Crist has jumped ahead of Gov. Rick Scott, leading the Republican 46-40 percent among likely voters in the SurveyUSA latests governor's race tracking poll conducted for WFLA.
Crist's 6 percentage point lead is the largest he has had in the firm's poll track and represents a significant 8-point shift in the race since SurveyUSA's last poll released July 3. Then, Scott led by an inside-the-error margin amount of 2 percentage points.
Three factors are at play: Scott's horrendous week, where numerous TV stations featured Scott ducking the most-basic of questions; new ad buys from Crist and Democrats promoting him and tearing at Scott; and Crist's decision to pick Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Annette Taddeo as his running mate on Thursday -- which just happened to coincide with the first day of the five-day poll, said Jay Leve, SurveyUSA's editor.
"The news after-glow for Crist has continued for about five days," Leve said.
Essentially, the race has reset in SurveyUSA's poll track. It's first poll for WFLA, on April 15, had Crist leading Scott 46-41. See the chart below.
Scott clawed ahead by spending more than $12 million in unanswered TV ads. Scott's ad spending, along with the Republican Party of Florida's, now exceeds $16 million. But Crist and the Florida Democratic Party have run and placed nearly $3 million in ads since early June.
Assuming Scott stops the unforced errors and Crist doesn't continue to rack up major favorable news coverage, Leve said, he expects the race to settle back to a near tie. This Crist surge aside, SurveyUSA did have another, less explicable one in early June, before the Crist-FDP ads began.
We'll know more about how these latest numbers stack up tomorrow morning when Quinnipiac University releases its Florida poll.