Alright poll trolls, get ready to pounce.
The latest survey from St. Pete Polls of the city’s mayoral race has Rick Baker slightly ahead of Rick Kriseman, although statistically-speaking, the race is a virtual tie.
Baker received 46.0 percent of those surveyed Monday night while Kriseman garnered 45.3 percent. Just under nine percent of voters are unsure about who they support.
Baker, a former mayor who remained popular years after leaving office, led Kriseman in every public poll conducted during the primary phase of the campaign. In fact, St. Pete Polls final pre-election survey had Baker beating Kriseman by seven points.
But Kriseman wound up beating Baker by 69 votes, with both candidates garnering about 48 percent of the ballots in the non-partisan race.
The dead heat, with neither candidate capturing more than 50 percent of the votes, has forced a Nov. 7 runoff.
After Kriseman’s surprising first-place finish, his supporters took to social media to savage St. Pete Polls, even though the firm’s tracking of the race was mostly accurate. Election results showed Baker winning the early voting period, but Kriseman taking Election Day. Because St. Pete Polls’ final survey was conducted a week before the election, it did not account for Kriseman’s last-minute surge.
This is the first public poll of the race conducted after the city, like the rest of Florida, was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Campaigning by both Kriseman and Baker had all but been suspended during the week before and after the devastating storm hit the state.
The poll has a sample size of 1,012 voters, with a 3.1 percent margin of error. St. Pete Polls’ Matt Florell notes in the methodology that the results of this poll were weighted to account for proportional differences between the respondents’ demographics and the demographics of those who voted in the primary.
Breaking down the numbers, it would appear Kriseman is now firmly in command of the black vote, leading that demographic 46 to 38 percent. For much of the primary, Kriseman trailed Baker among black voters. But the recent controversy about President Donald Trump’s remarks in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — and Baker’s refusal to say whether he had voted for Trump — have almost definitely hurt the Republican candidate.
Baker’s support from the black community also may be undercut by an endorsement former President Barack Obama gave to Kriseman the Friday before the election.
There’s an interesting phenomenon happening in the male/female numbers. Kriseman is leading Baker among men, while the former mayor is leading the incumbent among women. The leads are not huge — just four or five points in each case — but they defy traditional assumptions about men identifying with the more conservative candidate and women rallying to the Democratic-leadning candidate.
In advance of the 2018 elections, Democrats have targeted not only the St. Pete mayoral race but a key special election in Miami-Dade to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican who was forced to resign in April after a profanity- and racially-tinged tirade at a private club near the Capitol.
Last week, Democrat Annette Taddeo defeated Republican Jose Felix Diaz for that Senate District 40 seat.
Content from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.