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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.

Warren3. 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.

No more shampoo?


Tweet of the Day:


51 Responses to This “Poll” is Crap

  1. January 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm Jim Mayer responds:

    Yup. Call it an “RBJ reader survey” of you want, but don’t pretend it means anything. These “instant polls” are all over the place but they’re entertainment, not journalism.

  2. Reminds me of reporters standing on a busy street asking folks what they think of teacher’s salaries

  3. January 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm Scott von Feldt responds:

    I think the “poll” correctly reflects the shameful opinions of the great white suburbs surrounding Rochester that simply cannot accept successful black leadership in the city.

  4. January 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm Animule responds:

    Very strange timing for this spirited and undeserved defense of Mayor “Stay in your own lane.” If one thing is clear from year one in office, it is that Mayor “Stay in your own lane” is not really ready for prime time. And we haven’t even had time to tally up the damage she has done – after all, we find out Monday just how much taxpayers will have to shell out for the Mayor’s ham-handed attempt to install her buddy, Adam McFadden at the RHA by changing the composition of the board in one year (something most businesses avoid by staggering board member terms to avoid just this sort of tampering). My guess is we are looking north of $1 million for the settlement, and that doesn’t include the $200+ per billable hour for all of the lawyers working on this. One thing we have learned here is that the bigshots in the local press really get bent out of shape over what the RBJ thinks and does. Who knew a specialty news outlet like this would be regarded as such a threat?

    • What seems a lot more strange is the overblown response and obvious bias of the ‘haters’ like yourself. Nobody has been this tough on the past few mayors. The hating started up almost immediately after the office was taken with this non-male, non-white, one.

    • January 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm rochester_veteran responds:

      Very typical of Lovely and her supporters to play the race card. No where in the comments mentioned race until yours. Look in the mirror, Scott, to who the real racist is!

  5. January 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm SayWhat responds:

    I don’t live in the city, but Mayor Warren is an awful mayor and completely unqualified for the job. The city of Rochester is a dump and instead of getting better, it is getting worse. The majority of people do not like her or the job she is doing.

  6. January 3, 2015 at 4:25 pm Ernest Paviour responds:

    I don’t think we need a poll to tell us we again are getting duped by the political crime machine!

  7. I don’t understand this strong reaction. The rbj does these “unscientific” polls all the time. Why no complaints until it’s about warren? It’s very simply a poll about what it’s readers think, and that’s what they think, why get mad and slam the poll that’s been going on for ages when you suddenly disagree with the results?

  8. Basically what I’m saying is that this blog considers the poll to be invalid and therefore should never sight it again (including any results that you agree with or otherwise find interesting)

  9. January 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm Ivan Ramos responds:

    i’ve noted before that this poll is generally meaningless mainly due to the fact that the ‘respondents’ are likely not constituents of the lovely mayor… and as such, she needs not be concerned, ‘community of monroe’ be damned.

    • Why do you say they are likely not constituents of Warren?
      Some signed from the burbs and some from the city. Many are from businesses in the city and they depend on city services and plans and they pay city taxes either directly or through rent. Some are signed without location, but don’t assume they aren’t from the city just to fit your conclusion.

  10. January 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm Kristo Miettinen responds:

    Rachel, you are reacting too strongly to something meant to be ephemeral. RBJ does these “snap polls” or surveys (which are based on their readership) every few days (five since 12/12/14). It is just another mechanism for reader engagement.

    Check out the recent topics here: http://www.rbj.net/poll.asp

    Are these all crap? More like they are all exactly what they appear to be: conversation starters, of use for as long as the conversation lasts, and no more. Each one is obsolete in a few days, when the next one is launched.

    • January 3, 2015 at 7:11 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I only wrote this after being approached by more than a few people who asked what I thought. It was a big deal to THEM. Also, RBJ alerted local media to the poll, which is not something they do for every snap poll.

      • January 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm Kristo Miettinen responds:

        Rachel, own your actions. It’s not your friend’s fault that you overreacted. Don’t blame them.

        As for RBJ alerting media to the poll, well, if you want to criticize that, then distinguish the alert from the poll itself. What did RBJ do this time that they don’t do otherwise? Send out a blast email, or what? Don’t they do that pretty often too, and isn’t that the sort of thing that nobody thinks is a big deal?

        As for the poll, you presumably knew (or could have quickly found out) that it is nothing surprising or unusual. The blast email, or whatever they sent to alert you, wouldn’t have obscured that.

        Don’t go calling things “crap” lightly. Have a minimum standard of thought and research before you get profane. Be the adult you’d like others to be – America is running short on restraint, judgment, and prudence these days.

        • January 5, 2015 at 8:59 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

          I didn’t overreact and I stand by what I wrote. The poll needed to be put in context. I did that.

  11. Did any of you read the entire post? Rachael was clear that her problem wasn’t so much with the poll but the way RBJ was promoting the results and drawing conclusions from it. A lot of people are going to look at results like that being touted and not take the time to see if it was a scientific survey or not.

    Honestly, when I see a news org touting poll results, I would ASSUME it has a scientifically selected sample, etc. unless I heard otherwise. This isn’t some guy’s Geocities pages, it’s a major and normally quite good news organization. But they definitely are irresponsible with these snap polls and how they tout them.

  12. January 4, 2015 at 8:31 am Jim Webster responds:

    Relax Rach, it’s just a survey of readers who are as entitled to their opinion as you are. Frankly, I view her election as a gross mistake, and I see her “accomplishments” as an embarrassment to the city. She may have vision, but she has no clue how to lead.

  13. January 4, 2015 at 8:37 am Gary Van Son responds:

    To say a poll is crap is to say that voting is crap! It is merely a reflection of how the people contacted “feel” at that point in time. I am a 30 year city democrat who voted for Lovely Warren; yet, if contacted, I would have said her performance as mayor to date was crap. After years of Duffy-Richards and their fascism, I voted for her because she said the word “neighborhood” in a sentence without sneering. After 1 year in office, my neighborhood (PACK) is 10 times worse than a year ago. I made a mistake, but I won’t get fooled again. This is not an “image” problem. It is an honesty problem and it cannot be fixed.

  14. Double standard?
    Why are opinions on that poll so wrong, yet posts on this blog are OK???

    It seems that Rachel had a nerve hit when someone she supports gets some VERY bad press.

    The accomplishments Rachel pointed out were by and large started by others and only completed after Mayor Warren took office. She did not initiate any of them.

    I don’t see anyone refuting her lack of trustworthiness. If it is known that she lies, and does it quite easily, how can she be trusted?

    As for the responders not being constituents of the Mayor, I disagree. Some are listed as residing in the suburbs, but some are from the city as well. Many are noted as being associated with businesses located in Rochester. Wouldn’t their opinions be valid since they are dependent on economic conditions and law enforcement? Somehow I have a feeling that those who commented about responders not being from Rochester are people who had voiced opinions about what Sarah Palin did in Alaska.

    Look at the comments of the responders and try and refute them..

    Again, they are comments and opinions, just like the posts here. To say “This `Poll’ is Crap” is inviting the exact same crass criticism from anyone who disagrees with `The Rochesterian’.

    • January 4, 2015 at 12:56 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      That’s just it. There’s nothing different about what the RBJ did than me giving a forum for people to share their opinions. The problem is with calling this a “poll” and acting like it means something.

      • Rachel, this is not the RBJ’s first poll. They do them regularly. Why did you not object vigorously to any others over the years?

        • January 5, 2015 at 8:59 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

          What makes RBJ’s readers so special? This “poll” needed to be put in context for people talking about it as if it somehow matters more than the comments on my Facebook page or yours. I did that.

  15. January 4, 2015 at 4:53 pm Gary Van Son responds:

    Rachel-it does mean something. Probably not what RBJ purports it to be, but it is a legitimate expression of a negative impression of the job performance of Mayor Warren. I am the exact demographic of what a”scientific” poll would properly explore, yet you cannot refute my negative opinion of the Mayor. I am “city”, I am a registered democrat, I voted for the Mayor, and I regret it. Isn’t that what RBJ is saying? This isn’t a high school term paper where the teacher rejects your process; therefore, the whole conclusion is invalid. The next time I get to express my opinion in a meaningful way is 2017, and she is well on her way to failing my course. There are only so many opportunities to fail my neighborhood, and she is 0 for 2014!

  16. January 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm Orielly responds:

    Interesting, burb people have no say, NO value, “they should stay in their lane”…when commenting on the city. The Mayor constantly states that people with negative opinions of her Admin, many don’t live in the city therefore they don’t count.
    But then, one of the major themes of Unite Rochester, of which she is a major supporter, is sending city kids to burb schools by greatly expanding the Urban Suburban program. And Unite wants the Burbs to share their wealth and have more low income housing in the Burbs. Apparently the “Burb People ” only matter when the city wants something from them. Otherwise the burb people don’t count and should shut up, keep their opinions to themselves, and stay in their lane. I guess thats how “Unite” works.

    The RBJ ‘poll’ reflects no more bias than blind supporters of the Mayor. The dealings with her uncle and lies about speeding police stops on the thruway, the RHA, and Charlotte issues demonstrated a complete lack of integrity, honesty, and financial responsibility. Most people with an objective view would not be pleased with lies, cronyism and deceitfulness in their political leaders whether they be from your party or not. But in this case the opposition is biased. As far as violence, in the recent wake of losing one of our police officers, The mayor publicly sided with Rioters and against the police and grand Jury process by voicing her opinion against the rulings in Ferguson.

    You might not like the results or the timing of the RBJ poll, but the results are not “Crap” and have plenty of logic and facts to back up those opinions. IF the poll had positive results about the Mayor, would you still call the voice of the respondents reflected in the poll CRAP?

  17. Rachel, looking at your point #5, you say that the reason she was “pummeled” was that she “has a major public perception problem” and “a giant image problem”.

    Do you not see honesty, integrity and ability to choose competent advisors as part of her role? How would you grade her in those areas?

    You go on to state “The only value this poll has is to affirm she has a giant image problem, particularly among those who read the RBJ.” What are you inferring about readers of the RBJ? Please expand that thought.

    • January 5, 2015 at 9:00 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      The survey didn’t ask about honesty and integrity.

      • It didn’t specifically ask about it, but I am asking you. How would you rate her in those areas?

      • January 5, 2015 at 9:10 pm orielly responds:

        The poll didn’t ask about honesty and integrity? Really? What kind of comment is that? ….political dodge if there ever was one.

        THE FIRST QUESTION ASKS……how do you rate the Mayors overall performance? If you are aware of the many issues around her lack of integrity and honesty (and who isn’t ) then most honest people would give her poor marks based on that lack of honesty and integrity alone. For many, in the wake of other leaders lies, this is a major overriding issue. With both Clintons, and Obama having major lies associated with them, apparently thats not a big issue for the far left, but it is for most people, and is directly opposite from what we teach our children.

  18. January 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm Istvan Bathory responds:

    If the RBJ poll is such “crap,” why pay so much attention to it?
    People who love the mayor will continue to love the mayor, no matter if survey results from polls conducted about her are negative.
    People who hate the mayor will continue to hate the mayor, no matter if anything positive is printed about her.
    It all depends upon which newspaper or radio show one prefers to listen to in order to get the expected result of a good or bad judgment.
    In the end, most polls are rarely worth the excitement they produce.

    Steve Bathory
    Rochester, New York

    • January 6, 2015 at 11:54 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I’m not the one who started this. The RBJ sent out a press release and two news organizations jumped on board.

      • You may not have started it, but by posting it here in The Rochesterian, you invited comments. Some of the comments don’t agree with your stated support, but I thought that was the purpose of this page – to encourage discussion and exchange of opinions and ideas.

        If we all agreed and sang kumbi-ya it would be a pretty dull page.

        Embrace the discussion. Realize that people are paying attention to you and above all, don’t take any comments personally. Some comments can be written to elicit responses that will bring others into the conversation or to get them to talk about the issue outside of the page.

  19. January 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm Louis Benjamin responds:

    Steve Bathory – The sad and sorry truth is that far too many people confuse opinion surveys directed by publications such as the RBJ at a segregated section of the population (i.e. their readers in the business community), with scientifically designed and conducted polling by professionals. As a result the opinion surveys garner a cachet of legitimacy and accuracy which they by no means deserve.

  20. RBJ just came out with another Snap Poll – “What type of development do you favor for Parcel 5 at Midtown?”

    Let’s get ready to discuss it.

  21. Though the poll is unscientific, the Voice of the Voter poll released in October showed Warren with a 63% negative rating. Since that poll was conducted, the RHA fiasco, the Ferguson comment and the Facebook “hacking” occurred. Though unscientific, I believe that if a scientific poll occurred, the overall results would be the same and around 87% would give her a negative rating.

  22. Speaking of CRAP……you must to do a story on the “Good News Club” in area schools.
    For years I thought that I was signing a permission slip for a newspaper club that was teaching little kids about journalism.
    These people are really sick.
    Look at what they are teaching kids as young as five.


    • Obviously both sides should be presented. http://www.cefonline.com/index.php?Itemid=100049

      How many years have you been signing these permission slips? Will you sign any forms the kids as young as five give you without looking into them?

      Don’t you realize that blindly permitting your children to participate in activities you could be putting them in severe harm? Without judging the club you mentioned, which seems to have been vetted by the schools, I think parents who don’t look out for their children are a bigger threat to their well being.

      Take some responsibility and spend a minute or two looking into what you sign. You call the people sick, but have you ever had first hand knowledge of what the club does? Maybe this link you provided has had as much research done as the permission slips you’ve blindly signed for years.

      Form your own opinion from facts and not websites. Go to a few meetings. It seems you obviously haven’t talked to your kids about it for years. Ask them – they were there. Go in to a meeting WITH AN OPEN MIND which may be hard since you’re all riled up by some website. But do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

      You may end up feeling the same and that’s OK, but at least it’s because you’ve looked into it yourself.

      When it comes to kids, don’t give blind permission. You are supposed to be the informed adult. The child’s well being starts with the parents.

  23. January 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm Istvan Bathory responds:

    Louis Benjamin – The sad fact is that even “legitimate professional pollsters,” like the Siena Poll, have been dramatically inaccurate ( especially during the mayoral campaign of 2013 ) in forecasting results or reflecting popular opinion, for all their greater gifts and/or reputations.

    Steve Bathory
    Rochester, New York

    • There are many reasons the polls are not as accurate as before.

      As for the past mayoral poll, it showed Richards with such a large lead that many voters stayed home thinking their vote wasn’t needed. As a result, the underdog in the prediction poll won at the polling place. The low voter turnout shows how lack of action over one’s convictions can affect the end result.

      On a larger scale, it is becoming more difficult now to conduct polls since so many people no longer have land-line telephones. Someone with a 585 area code may now be living in New Mexico instead of New York. Previously, phone numbers could help tell where a person resided and help create the needed cross section for telephone pollsters. Also, so many more people now have caller ID so they just do not answer calls from pollsters.

      Telephone polls may be on the way out…. just like telephone poles are.

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