David Jolly releases poll showing him losing, but by a lot less; Charlie Crist finally talks about Trump TV ad
ST. PETERSBURG — This week hasn't been kind to U.S. Rep. David Jolly.
A blitz of negative ads on local television culminated earlier this week with a Photoshopped spot showing a fake Jolly shaking hands with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The two men have never met, Jolly said, and he won't be voting for the GOP nominee anyway.
Then early Thursday, a University of North Florida poll showed former governor Charlie Crist pummeling Jolly by a 54-36 percentage point margin.
Jolly, the Republican incumbent, is trying to counterpunch, a harder task considering he trails Crist in campaign cash by a growing margin.
First, the Jolly campaign released an internal poll showing Crist only beating Jolly by two points (47-45 with 6 percent undecided) and with a lower unfavorability rating (30 compared to Crist's 36).
Interviews with 301 active registered district voters were conducted Tuesday by Data Targeting. The margin of error was 5.7 percentage points.
The Jolly campaign also pushed videos taken Wednesday night at an Eckerd College forum where Crist was asked about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's photoshopped ad.
Crist said his campaign had nothing to do with the ad and the DCCC and local stations were within their constitutional rights to air it.
"So, you know," Crist said, shrugging. "That's it."
Later, another questioner asked Crist to explain his relationship with Trump.
Crist characterized his ties to the GOP presidential nominee as being firmly in the past.
"I know him or I should say I knew him," said Crist. "He was a supporter. I've had a lot of supporters during the time I've been involved in public service. That's the extent of the relationship."
The Crist campaign did not respond to a request for comment.