TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – It’s coming down to the wire in Florida’s gubernatorial race between Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic candidate Charlie Crist. Two new surveys have Crist marginally leading the incumbent governor.

The polls conducted by SurveyUSA and 0ptimus, a new Republican data-analysis firm, show Crist leading by 6 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively.  Both leads are within the poll’s margin of error.

Crist’s apparent rise coincides with his campaign’s decision to ramp up ad spending throughout the state.

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The increase in spending raises the Democrat’s total to $16.7 million, which is still dwarfed by Scott’s $41 million.

“The story here is these guys have been spending a ton of money,” 0ptimus analyst Scott Tranter told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. “But the only guy who’s seeing any movement here is Charlie Crist.”

SurveyUSA has conducted polls since April on behalf of WFLA-TV in Tampa. They have Crist at 46 percent beating out Scott’s 40 percent. This is sharp turnaround from SurveyUSA’s mid-September poll which had Scott leading 44 to 39 percent.

0ptimus’ poll, which ended on Sunday, surveyed 3,356 likely voters. Crist ended up with 41.1 percent of the vote compared to Scott’s 40.1 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie at 11.1 percent. In another poll by 0ptimus back in August, Scott led Crist 41.6 to 38.6 percent.

Quinnipiac University also released a survey showing Scott ahead of Crist 46 to 44.

Unlike prior surveys, some of these voters are potentially already casting absentee ballots.

As of right now most of the advantages go to Crist, but analysts have said this race can go either way.


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Jim DeFede