A lot of people are talking about the Rochester Business Journal’s Snap Poll of Mayor Lovely Warren’s first year in office. The survey roundly panned her performance. Only 13 percent of respondents approve or strongly approve of how she’s doing the job.
This poll is total crap. Here’s why:
1. This is not a scientific poll. It’s a survey of readers. RBJ provides no information about these readers, including how many responded and where they live.
2. Only 18 percent of readers said the mayor is doing a good job on education. The mayor has no control over education, though unlike her predecessors, Warren has pushed early learning initiatives.
3. Only 15 percent of readers approve of how she’s fighting crime. Crime statistics for 2014 haven’t been released yet, but there’s nothing to suggest crime went up or down significantly over the last year. We know homicides went down; there were 42 homicides in 2013 and 34 in 2014. Police also cleared a larger percentage of homicide cases in 2014. In 2013, when Richards was mayor, overall crime went down, but shootings and robberies were up. There’s simply no reason to give Warren such a bad rap on crime, unless you’re prepared to give Richards and Duffy similar knocks. But the RBJ offers no poll of Warren’s predecessors for comparison (more on that later).
4. Few respondents approve of Warren’s economic development and fiscal management policies. Warren spent her first year implementing the projects of the last two mayors. Though she fumbled the selection of the developer at the port, she hasn’t done anything in her first year that’s substantially different from Richards or Duffy. It’s hard to rack up huge economic development wins in a first year. Let’s see what she can do now that she’s had time to lay the groundwork. As for her budget, it also doesn’t look a lot different from that of previous mayors. The city still has a great credit rating and spending is the same.
5. RBJ never did such a poll on Tom Richards or Bob Duffy that I can find on Google. The surveys I can find at the end of Duffy’s tenure offer glowing reviews. RBJ’s readers also heavily favored Richards over Warren in the primary. It’s clear these readers have a huge bias in favor of Richards and Duffy and against Warren. But there’s little substance to back up their claims Warren is so much worse on crime, education, economic development and fiscal management.
We all know why Warren got pummeled in this survey. She has a major public perception problem that has nothing to do with her policy initiatives and everything to do with Uncle Reggie, the Rochester Housing Authority, Ferguson and dubious claims of Facebook hacking. The only value this poll has is to affirm she has a giant image problem, particularly among those who read the RBJ. I’m not saying her image problem doesn’t matter. I’m saying this poll doesn’t provide insight into her job performance, as it claims.
Reader opinions have a place in publications, but to mask this as a “poll” of any significant value is absurd. The RBJ touted this “poll” in a press release. There’s nothing, however, about this exercise in piling on that is newsworthy.
Links of the Day:
– The man who killed two NYPD officers had a history of trying on identities.
– Buffalo had way more homicides than Rochester in 2014.
– The Democrat and Chronicle comes up with some weird beats and job titles for reporters.
– New York’s teacher evaluations could get even more messed up.
– Pedestrian deaths in New York City fell, showing you can successfully target traffic fatalities.
– A professor uses ‘Seinfeld’ characters to teach Rutgers medical students about psychiatry.
– Spa industry targets kids: “I don’t want them to feel that my saying ‘no’ means that I don’t love them.” JUST SAY NO.
– The craziest zero tolerance stories of 2014.
Tweet of the Day:
— RochesterSubway.com (@RochesterSubway) January 2, 2015