In the news today is a report on KDKA from Jon Delano that Lukey Hizzoner Master Lil’ Ravenstahl MC Skate Boi is currently sitting ugly with a scant 19% approval rating.



One. Niner.

This data comes from local CMU — “offshoot” is not the right word, but let’s just say it was borne out of CMU — company CivicScience run by CEO John Dick.

Some, including Chris Briem of NullSpace, have questioned the validity of such polls in light of oftentimes unreliable results, drawing a comparison to a KQV poll that showed DeSantis leading Lukey by a 74% to a 34% margin prior to the mayoral election that Lukey, as we know, handily won.

I asked John Dick, who in the KDKA interview is quite adamant that their numbers are accurate, to ask him how he can be so sure about their methodology.

I’ll have you know that I asked for the “elevator speech” and judging by the length of his response, I assume John and I are riding an elevator TO MARS. I kid.

Lots of good info he gave me, but here’s the important-sounding parts as to why the Mayor, it seems, really does have a 19% approval rating when CivicScience’s recent poll was adjusted for gender:

We trust in the law of big numbers. While there is bias in any human sample, those biases can be accounted for when you have large enough data. In the case of the Ravenstahl #s, a 26,000+ person sample included enough people in every key demographic to build reliable models. Consider that a standard polling sample includes 500-1000 people (hence, margins-of-error in the 3-6% range). Throw our data (over 110MM polls and counting) into the machines built by these geniuses here from CMU and you can do things that can’t be done with 500 data points.

The KQV poll was NOT using the machines the geniuses built and also used a sample of about 2,500. Makes sense why perhaps their poll got it so wrong. Plus who knows what the listener demographics are at KQV, another thing to keep in mind. This is why you could put a poll on FoxNews all, “True or False. Barack Obama is an illegal alien.” and it would appear that 95% of Americans think TRUE.

Web connectivity is virtually ubiquitous among all but the oldest and most indigent populations. Compare that with the landline telephone (still the prevailing means of opinion research). Only 74% of US households have a land phone. Among those, at least half subscribe to Do-Not-Call Lists and/or CallerID, rendering them unreachable. The people left over are an extremely biased group (older, suburban/rural, etc). But, by aggregating results from millions of polls over news websites (GenX, Baby Boomers, and Moms), Social networks (Youth, Early Tech Adopters, and increasingly everyone), trade publications (professionals), and other online destinations, we are able to reach a much broader cross-section of the population.

Another reason Lukey might appear to have a higher approval rating in a phone survey, if there is one, could be because of that oldster thingamobobbibbity. You have a better chance of reaching an old person at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday than you do a 45-year-old working mom.

I could drop the names of some really smart people, including well-known economists, anthropologists, political scientists, consumer researchers, political pollsters and return customers who have validated our work. Numerous independent technical and academic white papers have also been published that substantiate what we do. I will spare you all of that.

Thanks, this is my floor anyhow.

Shit. Mars is COLD.

P.S. Machines the Geniuses Built? BAND NAME!



  1. empirechick
    August 25, 2011 3:50 pm

    And yet he’ll STILL be relected in a landslide…

  2. empirechick
    August 25, 2011 3:51 pm


  3. Pa-pop
    August 25, 2011 3:59 pm

    Do I understand correctly that the mayor offered to split the poll results with his ex but she insisted he keep the whole 19?

  4. adam
    August 25, 2011 4:05 pm

    I question the validity of this result. There’s no way 19% of Pittsburgh’s population actually approves of the Boy Blunder.

    Or, as an alternate explanation, 19% of Pittsburghers have been bought off.

  5. Jake
    August 25, 2011 4:09 pm

    I don’t know… I’m tempted to believe that KQV’s numbers were correct and that Lukey won by good old-fashioned election fraud.

  6. Bman
    August 25, 2011 4:13 pm

    You voted for him twice. Don’t complain now.

  7. Steverino
    August 25, 2011 4:42 pm

    Where’s ol’ Davey Lawrence when you need him? Now THERE was a mayor! It’s like Lukey has gone missing for the entire summer. I see no leadership there. None.

  8. mfj
    August 25, 2011 4:48 pm

    Early Tech Adopters. Also a good band name. Also, Mars Is Cold.

  9. spoon
    August 25, 2011 5:24 pm

    Lets look at what else Lukey can be hip with when it comes to 19.

    This is the minimum age at which one can drink and buy alcohol in Canada except for the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec where the drinking and purchase age of alcohol is 18. (go get’em tiger!)

    In golf the “19th hole” is the clubhouse bar. (Probably the only hole he finishes)

    The atomic number of Potassium (and who doesnt like Potassium)

  10. Burgh Bird
    August 25, 2011 6:35 pm

    The thing I found most interesting about this data was that the 19% might actually have been lower if 33% of those polled who had absolutely NO opinion cared just an iota. Srsly. 33% said they just don’t care enough to give an opinion. Which means that if they paid enough attention, and chose to disapprove, they would take that 19% and make it plummet….However, since this 33% will not be out voting, and even if they are, they will likely re-elect him. Not because they approve of his job but because they just don’t know any better or don’t care to do the research. This makes me stabby. Or punchy. Or both.

  11. Burgh Bird
    August 25, 2011 6:46 pm

    And Bman- some of us did NOT vote for him twice…but we are powerless against the stoopid yinzers who did…..

  12. Sam's Dog
    August 25, 2011 8:34 pm

    @ Spoon-The atomic number of Potassium? Wow, you’re like, smart an shit. I do like potassium, though.

  13. John in the Rocks
    August 25, 2011 10:10 pm

    I’m surprised it’s that high.

  14. spoon
    August 25, 2011 11:25 pm

    @Sam’s Dog back off man, I’m a scientist :)

  15. TripleC
    August 26, 2011 8:36 am

    And I would also put the chance that he DOESN’T get re-elected at about 19% as well. Boy wonder basically fell in to a job for life since he’s a D (as in Democrat, not D*CK).

  16. bucdaddy
    August 26, 2011 10:04 am

    Now John, HE’S a Dick.*

    *–Sorry, couldn’t resist. Poor bastard probably went through 12 years of hell in the public school system and four more in college, and look, I’m still giving him sh*t as if I’m in junior high. I wouldn’t trade names with him for all your money. Or with the girl I DID go to junior high with whose last name was Butt.

    It’s a cruel world.

  17. Trinket
    August 26, 2011 10:36 am

    Welp, 19% is about how many Burghers vote in a non-prez election so it kinda fizzles.

    What can we do to get out the vote? I don’t even care if yinz vote for fLuke… just want more burgers voting in general!!!

  18. Down Goes Staalsy
    August 26, 2011 12:33 pm

    There’s really no reason to ever believe that anything you see in a KQV poll is representative of what people in this area actually feel. It’s not a scientific survey and listeners can call in as many as 7 times from the same phone number before the system cuts them off from voting again, so people who feel passionately about something can just keep calling again and again to inflate the results. It should also be noted that the average KQV listener is elderly and very conservative, so they tend to frown on anything related to Democrats.