Poll reveals high approval for Tampa Bay Times, but ambivalence toward its candidate recs & opposition to its name change

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A new poll indicates a high approval rating among Saint Petersburg voters for the Tampa Bay Times, while also revealing ambivalence, if not, resistance to the newspaper’s candidate recommendations and fierce opposition to its name change.

The results of an automated survey conducted by St. Pete Polls commissioned by SaintPetersBlog show that 62% of registered St. Petersburg voters have a favorable opinion of the Times, while 24% of respondents registered a negative view and 15% said that they were unsure. 

Despite this high approval rating, the Times‘ editorial board’s recommendation of a political candidate hurts more than it helps.  Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the newspaper, while 33% said they would be more likely. Almost 30% said they were unsure if the Times‘ recommendation would make a difference.

Among Republican voters, the Times’ recommendation is the kiss of death. 60% of those Republicans surveyed said they would be less likely to support a candidate endorsed by the Times.

While apparently doing little damage to its brand, the Times‘ decision to change its name from the St. Petersburg Times to the Tampa Bay Times does not sit well with St. Pete voters, a high percentage of whom the Times counts as its readers. Fifty-two percent said they did not support the name change, while 22% said they were supportive. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they did not care.

The Times coverage of two hot-button issues, the debate concerning the new St. Petersburg Pier and the Tampa Bay Rays pursuit of a new stadium. is viewed generally as fair and balanced, although a third of respondents said they were unsure. 

This poll of City of St. Petersburg registered voters was conducted on Wednesday, February 27. This poll used the registered voter lists supplied by the state of Florida as of January 3rd, 2013. The sample of voters that were called included random samples of registered voters in the City of St. Petersburg.

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.