What a difference a Chicken makes: Kathleen Ford drops 7 points in latest poll of St. Pete’s mayoral race

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What a difference a Chicken makes!

On July 11, Kathleen Ford looked like a lock to finish in the top-two of the primary election for St. Petersburg Mayor. Ten days — and a chicken — later, Ford has dropped seven points in the latest survey from St. Pete Polls and is in danger of finishing third and out of the run-off.

Ten days ago, Ford led the field with 32% of likely voters’ support, followed by incumbent Bill Foster at 26% and Rick Kriseman at 19%. Seventeen percent of voters had said they were undecided.

Today, the numbers paint a different picture. Foster is on top with 30% of likely voters’ support, while Ford is at 25% and Kriseman is at 24%. Since 16% of voters still say they are undecided, it’s safe to conclude that Ford is bleeding votes to Foster (up four points) and Kriseman (up five points). This, according to the latest survey of the Mayor’s race conducted by St. Pete Polls and commissioned by this blog.

As, albeit unnecessary, proof that this latest snapshot of the Mayor’s race is on-point, consider that this poll also found that 52% of likely voters will vote “Yes” to terminate the contract with Michael Maltzan for “The Lens” design of a new St. Petersburg Pier, while 35% said they would vote “No.” These numbers mirror the latest results from a poll commissioned by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.

So why has Ford dropped seven points in the polls in just ten days? One answer: The Chicken.

After Ford declined invitations to a series of candidate debates and forums, citing conflicts with things like trial schedules, depositions, family birthdays and other speaking engagements, someone dressed in a chicken suit began popping up with a sign saying Ford was too chicken to debate Foster and Kriseman. The local media made extensive hay of The Chicken and Ford being MIA. Questions arose about why Ford would not debate.

It was suggested that perhaps Ford was wise to sit on her lead in the polls, while Foster and Kriseman duked it out for second-place. This blog described this as Ford playing prevent defense.

Well, the only thing prevent defense does is prevent the win.

What is clear from these polling results is that Ford has ducked her way out of the lead and possibly out of the general election.

mayors race infographic


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.