PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The election for Mayor of Pittsburgh is still a year away, but already candidates are maneuvering behind the scenes to take on Luke Ravenstahl.

A new poll suggests the situation is very fluid.

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Ravenstahl still has 16 months before he faces city voters, but he knows this is the year his principal Democratic primary opponents will emerge.

Ravenstahl recently told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano that he has every intention of running for reelection.

“As we go through 2012, it’s inevitable that speculation will grow about who will run against me and who the potential candidates may be,” Ravenstahl said.

Right now at least three names are on that list:

  • Auditor General Jack Wagner
  • City Controller Michael Lamb
  • City Councilman Bill Peduto

Last summer, a poll by Civic Science had the Ravenstahl’s job approval at a low 19 percent. Today, his approval rating is up to 24 percent.

Civic Science President and CEO John Dick put the numbers in perspective.

“I think when we ran that analysis last summer it was on the heels of a few difficult times in the city – the flooding on Washington Boulevard. People maybe were negatively reacting to that, and I think we’re starting to see an uptick from those numbers,” Dick said.

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In more good news for Ravenstahl, in a contested Democratic primary with everybody forced to choose, he would win 32 percent over Wagner with 26 percent, Peduto with 22 percent, and Lamb with 20 percent.

Of course, the bad news for Ravenstahl is that more than two-thirds of city Democrats (68 percent) prefer somebody else as mayor.

“Any of the four candidates,” said Dick. “Could have reason to be optimistic based on a review of these numbers.”

Any poll taken 16 months before an election is only tells what’s going to happen today, not predict what’s happening in 16 months.

Nobody even knows who the final candidates will be on the ballot in May of 2013.

Consider this a fun exercise in speculative politics.


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