The latest survey of the St. Petersburg mayoral race shows that the race has not changed in the three weeks since the last poll was conducted, despite the two leading candidates engaging in a televised debate and spending tens of thousands of dollars on paid media to influence voters.
Former mayor Rick Baker is still at 46 percent, while incumbent Rick Kriseman is up a point to 39 percent, according to St. Pete Polls.
A survey taken on July 17 had Baker leading Kriseman, 46 to 38 percent.
If the newest poll shows anything it’s that Baker’s route to ending the race on August 29 — by capturing 50 percent plus one of the vote — is narrowing on the edges. Kriseman tacked up 1.6 percent, while also-ran Paul Congemi is now at 4 percent, perhaps because his outlandish statement about black residents needing to go back to Africa appeals to a certain demographic. The three other candidates in the race — Anthony Cates, Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter, and Jesse Nevel — are barely registering with voters, the poll shows.
This poll, perhaps, can be seen as slight victory for Kriseman, who really didn’t gain any ground, but he didn’t lose any, either, despite Baker receiving the recommendation of the Tampa Bay Times and Kriseman being on the receiving end of some fairly negative coverage about his administration’s handling of last year’s crisis with the city’s sewage system.
Going inside the numbers, it would appear Kriseman has pulled even with Baker among St. Pete’s African American voters, with each man receiving about 38 percent of the black vote.
St. Pete voters are optimistic about the city’s future, the poll shows. Fifty-one percent think the city is moving in the right direction, while 36 percent say St. Pete is headed in the wrong direction.
The poll also surveyed the District 2 City Council race in which Barclay Harless and Brandi Gabbard are squaring off. Gabbard continues to enjoy a double-digit lead (30 percent to 16 percent), although that race won’t be decided until November.
A referendum to allow the Vinoy resort to build a one-story parking structure on its property continues to enjoy strong support (56 percent favor the initiative) although the poll shows support dropping off two points from the previous survey.
The poll was conducted August 7 and received 862 responses from registered voters in the city.
Only those voters who stated that they had voted or were planning to vote were included in the results.
The poll has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.