Poll: Bill Foster with big lead going into 2013 mayor's race, although "undecided" actually leads the field

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Mayor Bill Foster has a fourteen point lead over his next closest competitor, Kathleen Ford, although “undecided” leads the field in the first substantive poll (conducted by St Pete Polls) of the 2013 Saint Petersburg Mayor’s race.

Foster commands 32% of the vote in a four-way poll of possible mayoral contenders. Next is Ford with 18%, followed by former State Representative Rick Kriseman at 9% and local businessman and former mayoral candidate Scott Wagman at 6%. Thirty-seven percent of those polls said they were undecided.

Driving Foster’s lead are strong, albeit divisive, personal numbers. Of those who responded to a question about Foster’s job performance, 54% approve of Foster’s efforts, while 46% disapprove. Foster’s favorability ratings mirror this strong but divisive scenario as 37% of respondents have a positive opinion of him, while 32% do not.

Often considered a divisive figure herself, Ford’s favorability ratings are surprisingly positive at 27%/21% favorable to unfavorable.

St. Petersburg voters don’t have much of an opinion of Kriseman or Wagman, with both men unknown to about 70% of respondents. In fact, if there is one takeaway regarding Kriseman to be had in these numbers, it’s concern with how low in the polls he is versus Foster and Ford. He would have to overcome one of them to make it into the general election — a tall order considering how far behind he may start off.

The poll was conducted on December 17 with 1,916 automated respondents. The margin of error is +/- 2.2%.

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.