Latest polling: Kennedy safely ahead of Margeson; Rice up ten over Fries

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Although St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster dismisses voter polls he disagrees with, surveys remain one of the most reliable methods of measuring a community’s political pulse.

StPetePolls took one such scientific survey Thursday, contacting nearly 500 St. Petersburg residents planning to cast ballots in the Nov. 5 general election. This survey, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, provides the most recent standings in the four open City Council races.  

City Council District 2

In the District 2 match-up, incumbent Jim Kennedy leads environmental activist Lorraine Margeson by more than 15 points. Kennedy gets 35.8 percent while Margeson receives 20.6 percent. Undecided voters are at 43.6 percent.

Kennedy enjoys a slight advantage with African-American voters, receiving about five points more than Margeson (23.9 percent to 18.3 percent). However, neither candidate seems to be connecting with Black voters, considering 57.8 percent say they are undecided.  

City Council District 4

So far, the closest City Council contest is District 4, the race between former neighborhood association president Carolyn Fries and civic leader Darden Rice. With only ten points separating the two, Rice leads with 37.7 percent versus 27.5 percent for Fries. Almost 35 percent are undecided.

Fries is most successful with registered Republicans, the only category where she bests Rice. Fries leads with registered GOP voters by 10 points (36.8 percent to 26.5 percent), but Rice makes it up with strong support from both Democrats and Independents, receiving around 42 percent from each.

City Council District 6

In the city’s other incumbent race, Karl Nurse holds a commanding lead to keep his District 6 seat, with an almost 30 point lead over rival Sharon Russ. Nurse, the current City Council chair, received 48.6 percent support from all respondents, with Russ getting only 20.4 percent. Nearly 31 percent remain undecided.

Both Republican and Black voters seem to be favoring Nurse in this most recent poll. GOP voters selected Nurse by more than 33 points over his challenger – 51 percent to 17.4 percent — although Russ is a Republican. Black voters are also gravitating towards Nurse, putting him almost 15 points ahead of his African-American opponent.

City Council District 8

For the open District 8 seat, Amy Foster holds a steady lead over challenger Steve Galvin. Foster receives 38.3 percent of all respondents, compared to 20.5 percent for Galvin. Overall, 41.2 percent of voters are undecided in that race.

Despite Foster’s impressive support from registered Democrats (45 percent), with other groups, her lead dips to under 10 percent. For example, from Republicans she receives 32.3 percent support, opposed to Galvin’s 23.9 percent, and 43.9 percent undecided.

With Independents, Foster’s advantage over Galvin is only seven points — 30.9 percent to 23.5 percent — with 45.7 percent undecided.   

And now, the science…

StPetePolls asked a random sampling of 498 registered voters on September 19, 2013 who say they will cast a ballot in November, using voter lists supplied by the state of Florida as of  August 3.

The results were then weighted to account for relative differences between respondents’ demographics and that of the registered voter population within the City of St. Petersburg. Demographics used are party, race and age.

The analytical results have a margin of error of 4.4 percent, and a 95 percent confidence level.


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.