They also recorded an 11 point gain for Republican Pat McCrory in the Governor's race, and a 3-point gain for Elizabeth Dole in the Senate race.
A lot of people might have thought, "Hey, maybe we messed something up here." Not SurveyUSA, though.
Republican John McCain suddenly and breathtakingly surges to a 20-point win over Democrat Barack Obama, 58% to 38%, according to this latest exclusive SurveyUSA election poll conducted for WTVD-TV. In 3 previous SurveyUSA NC tracking polls, McCain had led by 8, 5, and 4 points. Today: 20. McCain has gained ground in every demographic group.
Now, first of all, their claim is false. Obama led 71-25 among Democrats in August's poll; today, he leads 74-23.
That fact led me to look at the crosstabs for party affiliation; 41% Republican, 40% Democratic. I wondered if they were going by stated party affiliation or registered party affiliation; those numbers may be accurate for stated affiliation but they are way off for registered party affiliation.
So I took a look at the other 3 months polls that they've done, and it's clear: they've been polling by registered party affiliation.
In August: 46% Democratic, 33% Republican
In July: 45% Democratic, 37% Republican
In May: 49 % Democratic, 33% Republican
The Democratic registration edge in all 3 of the previous polls is within 4 points of the Democratic registration edge among registered voters in North Carolina.
Currently, 45.3% of North Carolina's registered voters are Democrats, 32.7% are Republicans (12.6% edge). This is a gain of 2 points for Democrats since January, when 44.8% were Democrats and 34.2% were Republicans (10.6 point edge)
My point is that this a really, really awful sample of voters. If you take the crosstab numbers by party registration for this poll and adjust them to reflect last month's poll, you get the following:
McCain 51, Obama 42 (still a 5 point gain; not insubstantial but not crazy either)
Hagan 44, Dole 42 (a 7 point gain for Hagan, in line with other polls we've seen from the state)
Perdue 45, McCrory 44 (a 2 point gain for McCrory, within the margin of error)
The point being: McCain may well be safe in North Carolina (and the Obama campaign may realize it as they've cut back resources there), but Dole isn't and Perdue's got a fighting choice.
Or rather, that's what this poll says.