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Exclusive: Latest poll shows Kathleen Ford leading decisively over Bill Foster; Kennedy well ahead, Kornell, Rouson neck and neck

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
At Tuesday’s Mayoral Forum hosted by Tiger Bay, Bill Foster pulled no punches in his verbal pummeling of Kathleen Ford. Foster seemed to want to blame Ford for anything and everything that had ever gone wrong in St. Petersburg. If he could’ve, Foster would’ve even blamed Ford for the Rays losing the World Series, except Foster was too busy playing the victim card, doth protesting too much about Ford’s (actually humorous) criticisms of Foster’s narrow worldview.

I thought Foster’s was a horrible performance. In fact, after listening to Foster speak, I leaned over to Hal Freedman and said to him that Foster must have internal polls showing he is behind. Why else would he be going after Ford so viciously?

Little did I know at the time how right I was.

According to a poll conducted by Dixie Polling Co. for a statewide organization aligned with the Republican Party, Kathleen Ford is ahead 47% to 36% over Bill Foster. These numbers seem unbelievable, except that The St. Petersburg Times is said to also have new polling numbers also showing Ford well ahead of Foster.

Again, I find these numbers hard to believe and I have not seen the cross-tabs, so I cannot verify the information, but there is some logic to the numbers. After the primary, both Ford and Foster had bases of support somewhere in the 25% range. Since that time, Ford has likely won most of the voters who supported Scott Wagman, Jamie Bennett, Ed Helm, and John Warren. We can assume Foster won over most of the voters who had supported Larry Williams.

The reason why Foster is behind is because of his mishandling of the African American vote. Every indication points to the fact that Foster may have had an early lead in the black community, but lost it with a series of gaffes (and I will argue the assigning of Nick Hansen to coordinate the campaign’s efforts in Midtown). Black voters seem to be supporting Ford as much as Foster, a scenario that would mean defeat for Foster.

Within this poll, Bill Foster’s favorable/unfavorable ratio is dangerously out-of-whack with 37% holding a favorable opinion, 38% having an unfavorable opinion.

As for votes’ concerns, economic development tops the list:

Economic Development 29%
Crime 28%
Taxes 20%
Environment 13%
Rays and Stadium 8%

In the two most competitive races for the St. Petersburg City Council, Jim Kennedy appears to be mounting a strong defense against Steve Corsetti, with Kennedy leading 22% to 11%. Of course 66% of voters were undecided.

The race to replace Jamie Bennett in District 5 is shaping up to me the most exciting race with this poll suggesting a close finish. Steve Kornell (24.9%) is 3 points of Angela Rouson (22.2%) with 55% of voters still undecided.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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