Former two-term mayor Rick Baker has opened up an eight-point lead over incumbent Rick Kriseman according to the latest survey of St. Petersburg’s mayoral race.
Baker is at 46 percent and Kriseman is at 38 percent in the latest St. Pete Polls survey, which was conducted on the first day of early balloting in the primary election.
Baker’s edged up two points since the last poll while Kriseman has dropped a point. It’s the second poll to include all six of the mayoral candidates who qualified for the ballot.
The poll, sponsored by Florida Politics (which means you won’t read about it in the Tampa Bay Times), is of likely voters, as opposed to the first poll, which only surveyed registered voters.
Since that first poll, there have been a handful of candidate forums, dozens of news stories and tens of thousands of dollars spent on paid media coming from the Baker and Kriseman camps. Yet the race is essentially where it was three weeks ago: Baker with an outside-the-margin-of-error, single-digit lead on Kriseman.
Therefore, the question remains: Can Baker win the race outright in the primary election?
Doing the math, so long as the tomato cans — Anthony Cates, Paul Congemi, Jesse Nevel, and Theresa Lassiter — continue to receive a combined 8 or 9 percent of the vote and Baker and Kriseman evenly split the undecideds, Baker would likely fall just short of the 50 percent threshold necessary to avoid a run-off.
That said, Baker is now within shooting distance of 50-percent-plus-one.
Meanwhile, this poll is yet another survey which shows that Kriseman — a relatively popular incumbent — has not cross the 40 percent threshold.
Going inside the numbers, Baker continues to enjoy strong support from Republicans, with 72 percent of Republicans backing him. Kriseman’s support among Democrats actually dropped off two percent since the first poll.
Baker is now firmly in command of the black vote: He takes 39 percent of it while Kriseman receives just 28 percent.
Baker beats Kriseman in every other demographic, save those aged 30 to 49, where he nips Baker 39 to 38 percent.
The poll also surveyed the District 2 City Council race in which Barclay Harless and Brandi Gabbard are squaring off. Gabbard has a 15 point lead (30 percent to 15 percent), although “unsure” dominates the field there. (Also, SaintPetersBlog was privy to an internal poll recently conducted for Harless by The Kitchens Group and it showed a much closer race.)
A referendum to allow the Vinoy resort to build a one-story parking structure on its property is well on its way to passing with 58 percent support.
“We believe the strong initial support is due to the fact that the Vinoy’s proposed one-story parking garage will be privately funded, does not change The Vinoy’s footprint and does not impact St. Petersburg’s waterfront parks,” said Debra Feldman, Vice President Capital Transactions at FelCor Lodging Trust, owner of The Vinoy. “We are encouraged by the strong show of initial support as we continue our public engagement efforts throughout the city.”
The poll was conducted July 18 and received 1,011 responses from registered voters in the city. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.