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Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2007

You’ll recall this line from my recent Sun-Times column and from here at the blog

Just 23 percent of voters said they approve of the way Blagojevich is handling his job, a recent Illinois Wesleyan University poll found.

Last night I started thinking about that number to try to put it in perspective. For instance

23 percent say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one’s presence

Here’s a couple more…

* 23 percent is a point lower than Richard Nixon’s worst ever approval rating

* 23 percent is four points lower than the percentage of Illinoisans who voted for that whacked-out clown Alan Keyes

Then there’s this

The “23 Enigma” is the Discordian belief that all events are connected to the number 23, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter.


Question: Come up with your own way of putting “23″ into perspective for the rest of us.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Since the Governor claims he has a mandate from God to provide health care, and since Jesus was 33 years old when he died, the Governor would claim that he’s happy with the 23% approval rating and that’s within a margin of error of 10%. Or, he could claim that the 23% approval rating is exaggerated due to the volume of George Ryan supporters and cronies who voted more than once on the survey. The bottom line is that the approval rating will mean nothing to a man who can still rake in millions of dollars in campaign contributions, ethics legislation notwithstanding. Or is that grandstanding?

  2. - GOP - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:40 am:

    23 was a great number for Michael Jordan and Ryne Sandburg but not for the #1 Elvis fan. I wonder if 23 has any other Elvis connection…

  3. - Trafficmatt - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:43 am:

    It is clear to see why 23% of the public approves of Blago.

    2% of the population are attorney - they like all the lawsuits
    1% of the population are newspaper reports - this craziness sells papers
    1% of the population are in the psychiatric profession - lots of potential customers
    2% of the population are in prisons, they are looking for new cell mates
    6% of the population have IQ’s lower than 80, so they might think everyone is fine
    2% of the population sell alcohol - this stuff is driving people to drink
    5% of the population work in automotive - all the special sessions and drives back and forth to Springfield are helping their industry.
    and 4% of the population are in the hotel industry, and they are leasing out hotel rooms in record numbers in Springfield.

    No wonder why he get 23% approval ratings.
    (yes - numbers were made up)

  4. - Omni - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    Maybe it means 23 weeks or 23 months till Blagojevich is indicted.

  5. - hollywood - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    23 percent of Celebrity personal assistants receive material gifts from their clients… paging paris hilton?

  6. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:48 am:

    You mentioned Nixon, but failed to point out that the lowest aproval numbers ever recorded (in modern polling history) for a president was for Truman, who bottomed out in 1951 at - that’s right you guessed it - 23 percent.

    Needless to say, he did not run for reelection.

  7. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:51 am:

    At any given point in time, 23% of the population are absolutely clueless if not delusional.

  8. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    23 — Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time

    23 — Devin Hester, the most potent special teams weapon of all time

    23 — Ryne Sandburg, hall of fame 2nd baseman and one of the best at his position of all time

    23 — LeBron James, among the best currently in the NBA

    23 — David Beckham, Pro Soccer player and husband of Posh Spice (she should smile more)

    23 — Don Mattingly, New York Yankees

    23 — Bob Nystrom, Hall of Fame New York Islander

    Need I say more?

  9. - loony tunes - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 10:54 am:

    John Forbes Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who was the subject of the film, A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, was obsessed with 23. It featured prominently in his battle with mental illness. His breakdown began when he claimed that a photograph of Pope John XXIII on the cover of Life magazine was in fact him, the proof being that 23 was his favourite number. Nash published 23 scientific articles.
    23 associated with crazy people?? hmmmmm

  10. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:02 am:

    The Gov graduated from Pepperdine University Law School about 23 years ago, whereupon he went to work for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. I think he has been in public service ever since as an attorney, legislator or governor, for a total of 23 years.

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:03 am:

    23 percent is 21.6 percentage points fewer than the number of Californians who voted against recalling Gov. Gray Davis.

  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:04 am:

    23 percent is also lower than Gov. Davis’ approval rating at the time of the recall.

  13. - ChampaignDweller - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    2 plus 3 is 5 which appears to be age at which the Governor currently acts.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    23 is about the same number of votes the governor had for his health insurance bill in the Senate.

  15. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    sqrt(23)+23-2.3*2.3+2.3*(.23)-.23^2.3 = 23


  16. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:23 am:

    In a numerology twist based on the concept of Digit Addition Reduction Transfer(DART) to 1 digit, 23% is the same as 77%.
    1. 100%-23%=77%
    2. DART(77)= 7+7=14, therefore 1+4=5.
    3. DART(23)= 2+3=5, net proof of equality.
    4. Based on DART, 23% is a very good outcome.

    Analog versions of the DART board and selected pointers are now available for further analysis after extensive development and research. Call for pricing and consultation services.

  17. - backwards its aveunalliv - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:24 am:

    for the cub fans: Hector Villanueva’s lifetime batting average is .230

    for the sox fans: ron karkovice hit around .230

    the governor’s approval rating is the batting average of a defensive catcher hitting in the 8 hole.

  18. - central illinois - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    23 ingredients in Dr. Pepper - maybe Blago has been drinking the DOC lately

  19. - Rod R. Blagojevich - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:28 am:

    2 plus 3 is 5, which is the start of 50, which is a clear mandate from the people. So, once again, I’d say this is more evidence that we have the will of people on our side in doing God’s work and if you think otherwise you’re part of the cynical old way of doing business and voted for George Ryan.

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:31 am:

    23 - approx. number of ongoing investigations

    23 - approx. number of cooperating witnesses

    23 - approx. number of weeks the trial will last

    23 - approx. sentencing range (yrs) for the guy

  21. - Ghost - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:35 am:

    Only 23% of Americans do not recycle in any fashion ( Coincidence? I dont think so…Blago has capatured the enitre non-recycler voter base!! and folks thought he did not have a majority of any group. Non-recyclers support blago 100%!

  22. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    “Let’s look at the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, founded in 1776 by Jesuit trained Adam Weishaupt. There are many theories due to its founding in 1776 coinciding with the American signing of the Declaration of Independence, that Weishaupt and first President George Washington were in fact the same man. Whether they were indeed one in the same, or used as dopplegangers to each other, there are some very strange connections in regards to the 23 when comparing the life and death of these two individuals.

    George Washington
    Born: Feb 11th 1732
    Death: Dec 14th 1799

    Adam Weishaupt
    Born: Feb 6th 1748
    Death: Nov 18th 1811

    Washington and Weishaupt were born 5 days, 16 years apart. They died 26 days, 12 years apart. If you add together 5+1+6+2+6+1+2 it again comes to the ‘magic’ number of 23. But this is just the beginning in an intricate web of deceptive metaphysics that makes up not only the history of the United States of America, but also takes us into the very core and foundation of the Secret Society and religious monument building.”

  23. - Robbie - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    This will be the 23rd comment. Man that is deep!

  24. - one of the 35 - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    23 is equal to the total number of people in the state of Illinois who still trust the governor without an MOU.

  25. - John Ruberry - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    There was an expression, “23 Skidoo,” which I never understood, but in this context it could mean that it’s time for “Elvis” to leave the governor’s mansion.

    Oops, I forgot, he never moved in.

  26. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    2 minus 3 = -1. My impression of the governor is also a negative one. Weird.

  27. - Dooley Dudright - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:55 am:

    Streator. Ottawa. DeKalb. Sycamore.

    I mean — dontcha wonder?

    There always was something about those communities that I — well, I just never got.

    Maybe the acronym? “SODS”. Naw………

    Today, I get it. They’re all linked by Illinois Route 23!

  28. - The Clock is running Rod - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    “The truth will find you.” But you might not find the truth. Is a biblical quote from Numbers 32:23

  29. - irishpirate - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:31 pm:

    23 percent of women consider my middle aged, balding, fat self to be sexy. 77 percent turn on the lights and see the truth.

  30. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:46 pm:

    In 1978, as the US economy suffered double-digit inflation, coupled with very high interest rates, oil shortages, high unemployment, slow economic growth, and mass Cabinet resignations, the Gallup Poll had President Jimmy Carter’s approval rating at 28% - 5% higher than Rod Blagojevich’s.

    Then came the Hostage Crisis.
    Oh those WONDERFUL Carter years!
    How soon we forget!
    And this guy says Bush was the worst president? He out to know!

  31. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:47 pm:

    “ought” - not “out”!

  32. - Roosevelt 370 - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:50 pm:

    Psalm 23, which is what I’ll be praying when waiting in the dark for a non-existent CTA bus…

    “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”

  33. - Gregor - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:53 pm:

    23 is the number of times they plastered the Governor’s name on the state official web site (just the main page).

    23 is the number of lying or misleading press releases that go out from the Governor’s press staff every Friday, when they want to bury a more embarassing story

    23 is the number of hair styling products in Blago’s bathroom

    23 is how many minutes he spends in Springfield before his plane departs.

    23 is the number of times he’s broken a promise *this week*.

  34. - Lainer - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:54 pm:

    In any group of 23 people or more, there is a greater than 50 percent chance that at least two of them will share the same birthday.

  35. - DwightZinfandel - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    23 is 34 fewer varieties than Heinz 57, making the Governor more monotonous than ketchup.

    23 is 8 fewer flavors than Baskin Robbins, meaning not only can the Governor not serve the people, he couldn’t serve the people a cone of Rocky Road.

    23 is 29 short of playing with a full deck (not counting the Jokers, which in this case you definitely should)

    23 is 3 more than a full pack of smokes, meaning the Governor is worse for you than smoking.

    34 + 8 + 29 + 3 = 74, which means the Governor just doesn’t add up right.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    23 percent was Tony Blair’s approval rating shortly before he stepped down as British PM.

    The rich get richer:

    -Microsoft, Coach, and Prada all reported quarterly earnings increases of 23 percent over the prior year.

    -The Harvard and Yale endowments reported a 23 percent investment return for the year ended June 30, 2007.

    And the poor get poorer:

    -Chapter 13 (individual) bankruptcies rose 23 percent in the third quarter of 2007.

    -Home foreclosures also rose 23 percent from the prior period.

    This is all factual information. AA may be snarky, but is always truthful.

  37. - Lainer - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    For a more complete explanation of my last post, google “birthday problem” or “birthday paradox.” It’s a rather well-known statistical quirk.

  38. - At Some Point.... - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:18 pm:

    ….it will be only 23 days until the indictments come pouring out?

  39. - Esteban - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    The idea that ghosts exist has more credibility
    than anything that Blago could tell me.

  40. - Just Sayin' - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:30 pm:

    I think Blink 182 said it best, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”

  41. - Just Sayin' - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:34 pm:


    “I’m 23 now but will I live to see 24?
    The way things is going I don’t know.

    Tell me why are we so blind to see
    That the one’s we hurt are you and me?

    Power and the money, money and the power.
    Minute after minute, hour after hour.
    Everybody’s running but half of them ain’t looking.”

  42. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 1:45 pm:

    23% is enough to win a plurality election in a five way race.

  43. - realist - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    23=paranoid obsession of pscyho movie character

    23=realistic prognosis of corrupto governor

  44. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:16 pm:

    Love the Coolio reference!!

    “I’m out of luck, fooool.” — wouldn’t that be a great headline on a Friday afternoon news release. It would be even funnier to get Rebecca Rausch’s comments on the headline.

  45. - Lainer - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:21 pm:

    The 46th comment is two times 23.

  46. - phocion - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:37 pm:

    Shakespeare was born on April 23. He also died on April 23.

    Two Quotes:

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”


    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Make is 3 quotes:

    “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!”

  47. - Muskrat - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:42 pm:

    In baseball, a game in which failure is constant, in which whiffing three out of every five at bats makes you an all-star, a game in which a team gets twenty-seven tries and usualy scores only 4-5 runs, well, in baseball a .230 average will get your cleats shipped back to the minors, unless you have dazzling defensive skills. The Gov seems to have what they call “stone hands.”

  48. - blagoman - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:52 pm:

    23… the number of years it will be before Blago’s beloved Cubs win the World Series. About the time he gets out of jail.

  49. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 2:59 pm:

    Rich - was the deleted reference to a Moline bar too much??

  50. - Run Forest Run - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 3:01 pm:

    Twenty-three percent is the same as what light-hitting, former Cubs shortstop Mick Kelleher (a career .216 hitter) hit during his first and second years with the gov’s beloved North Siders in the 1970s. Kelleher’s batting average was .228 in 1976 and .230 in 1977.

  51. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 3:03 pm:


  52. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 3:05 pm:

    I thought it was funny, but in hindsight, I’ll be a little more diplomatic. Sorry ’bout that…

  53. - Levois - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 3:42 pm:

    Some of you have beaten me to Michael Jordan’s number. I would have just said it would be an insult to link MJ to RB. lol

  54. - Mark Johnson - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 3:59 pm:

    Job Approval Datatbase back to the 1958

    There are about 53 governors that have hit as low as Blago, but that’s 53 Governors sice 1958.

    Taft in Ohio in 2005 hit 15 percent so Blago hasn’t bottomed out yet.

    On the up side, I think this 23% rating means I will order 2300 more bumperstickers that say “Buck the Gov”.

  55. - 23 Skidoo - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 4:10 pm:

    Blago’s IQ = 23 (on a good test day)

  56. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 5:22 pm:

    What 23 percent means:

    23 percent of American couples sleep apart.
    23 percent of Americans are too scared to watch scary movies.

    23 percent of college students transferred from one school to another before attaining their degrees.
    23 percent of college students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse or dependence.
    23 percent of the drivers ages 15 to 20 killed in crashes had blood alcohol concentration levels of .08 or higher.
    23 percent of the prime time television episodes portraying alcohol use mention or show negative consequences.

    23 percent of energy-related carbon emissions worldwide are produced by the U.S.
    23 Percent Of Americans don’t recycle.
    23 percent of car shoppers to purchase hybrid in next 12 months.
    23 percent of late-model used vehicle buyers used an internet vehicle locater or online classified ad services to find their car.

    23 percent of the troops currently assigned to the Iraq mission conduct primarily combat jobs.
    23 percent of troops serving in Iraq told a 2006 Stars and Stripes poll they thought U.S. forces should stay “as long as they are needed.”

    23 percent of Americans consume fast food at least once per week.
    23 percent of Americans eat five or more servings of vegetables each day.

    23 percent of salespeople are women.
    23 percent of full university professors are women.
    23 percent of all adults on probation are women.

    23 percent of travelers vacation with their pet.
    23 percent of travelers think redeeming frequent flyer miles is much more difficult than redeeming hotel loyalty/frequent guest points.

    23 percent of Internet users search on-line for information on coworkers, employees, potential employees, bosses, or clients.
    23 percent of non-senior executives play video-games at work.
    23 percent of workers earning more than $75K/year steal office supplies.
    23 percent of workers call in sick to relax and catch up on sleep.

    23 percent of Evangelicals have had two divorces.
    23 percent of urban households are single-parent and female-headed.

    23 percent of earthling in prison are Americans.

    – SCAM

  57. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 7:00 pm:

    23 is the number of points that HRC is running ahead of Obama in most polls.

  58. - dis-connected - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 7:57 pm:

    The only relevant issue will Devon Hester #23 return any more punts or kickoffs? If you dont know who Hester is uve been in Springfield way to long!

  59. - Captain America - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 8:02 pm:

    23 Skiddoo

    It means Blago’s not far from rock bottom and doomsday hasn’t even happened yet. I can’t believe anyone thinks he has a chance of being elected to a third term.

  60. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Oct 30, 07 @ 11:24 pm:

    In 1966, a Gallup Poll found that 46% of Americans believed in flying saucers. That’s twice as many as believe in Rod Blagojevich.

    A March, 2000 Life Magazine Poll found:

    - 54% believe there’s intelligent life on other planets (v. 23% in the Gov’s Office)

    - 30% believe that aliens have visited earth

    - 49% believe govt. is withholding information

    - 43% believe UFO’s are real

    - 6% say either they have seen a UFO

    - 1% say they have personally encountered an alien.

    And if you’re looking for a correlation, the closest # to 23 in the Life survey was 21%: the percent of people who said they’d go on board an alien spacecraft if invited. Sound like team Blagojevich?

    P.S.>> Blagojevich has not hit rock bottom yet. I’m not sure he has a rock bottom. But I can tell you, coupling the CTA bailout to all of these other issues was a big mistake, because if the train derails now, he might be at 17% pretty darn quick.

    And once you start getting that low, people just started piling on. Smart folks are going to start blaming him for higher taxes in Cook County, for starters.

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