Yes, the election is nearly 16 months away. Yes, there will likely be some new candidate names thrown around and currently-thrown-around-names dropping out. Yes, there are a couple other big elections between now and then. But so what? One of the cool things about CIVICSCIENCE is that we can do these kinds of things whether anyone pays us to or not. So, for the political geeks of Pittsburgh, have a look-see.

Over the past several weeks, we asked 5,774 registered Democrats living in the city of Pittsburgh who they would vote for in the 2013 Democratic Mayoral Primary if the candidates were: Incumbent Luke Ravenstahl, City Councilman Bill Peduto, Auditor General Jack Wagner, and City Controller Mike Lamb.

Our technology then whittled things down to a sample of exactly 1,024 likely voters, who we believe would comprise the electorate in a relatively-low-turn-out Democratic primary.

After all the votes were run through our machines, here’s how it looks:

–  Ravenstahl wins with 31.66% of the vote

–  Wagner comes in second with 26.36%

–  Peduto comes in third with 22.03%

–  Lamb comes in fourth with 19.94%

We don’t claim to be the local pundits, so we’ll leave it up to our loyal readers to pontificate. It does seem, however, that any of the candidates could find good and bad news in the numbers. The Mayor has improved on the approval numbers we shared last summer (and bandied about relentlessly). And certainly, were he in full campaign mode, he could begin to tell a story about his accomplishments in office to move numbers even further in his favor.

Meanwhile, though, there is reason for each of the three challengers to be optimistic. The gap between 1 and 4 is far from insurmountable. Maybe in the weeks ahead we’ll share some head-to-head match-ups. But this is all you get for now.

Oh, and as for some cross-tab highlights: Luke blows everyone away among African-Americans, Wagner wins with the older crowd, Peduto dominates among the wealthy, and Lamb should hope that lots of women turn out to vote.