ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The numbers are in from an exclusive Spectrum Poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute regarding the race for the 25th Congressional district, which is less than twelve weeks away.
When Congresswoman Louise Slaughter died earlier this year, she left open a seat she held for 30 years.
“It’s a district that has nearly 60,000 more Democrats than Republicans,” said Siena College Research Institute pollster Steve Greenberg.
The Siena College Research Institute’s poll on the 25th Congressional district seems to reflect that, with 55 percent of those polled saying they would vote for Democratic candidate Joe Morelle if the election was held today and 31 percent saying they would vote for the Republican candidate Jim Maxwell.
“Republicans — Morelle is getting support from nearly a quarter of Republicans," Greenberg said. "Maxwell only has support of 63 percent, which is not enough in a district with more Democrats than Republicans.”
The results are good news for the state assemblyman, says his communication's team.
“These results show that the people of Monroe County want a representative in Congress with the experience to deliver real results on the issues that matter most to our community; expanding access to affordable health care, protecting Medicare and Social Security, creating economic opportunity for working families, and enacting common-sense gun control measures to keep our streets and children safe," Morelle's team said in a statement. “Over the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to continuing to meet with my neighbors, listening to their concerns, and working hard to earn their support.”
Further poll numbers may show why Maxwell, the neurosurgeon from Rochester, is struggling. A total of 71 percent polled say they don’t know or have an opinion of Maxwell, including 74 percent within his own party.
Meanwhile, nearly half of Republicans polled view Morelle favorably, along with 62 percent of Democrats.
“Look, Joe Morelle has been in the assembly for 25 years, he was a county legislator before that, county chairman of the Democratic party," Greenberg said. "And he has a really good favorability rating.”
Greenberg says if Maxwell wants that to change, he’s going to have to spend more on advertising.
“The good news for Dr. Maxwell, if he can raise the money, is that this is a much easier Congressional district than others in the sense that it’s in one media market, it’s in the Rochester media market.” Greenberg said.
Even though Maxwell isn’t directly affiliated with President Trump, party affiliation could also be hurting him, with the president's job approval rating only at 34 percent. Some 55 percent of those polled would like to see the House under Democratic control.
Still, in a statement, Maxwell's camp says they aren't discouraged.
"A poll of 500 people pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of lives Dr. Maxwell has touched during his four decades as a neurosurgeon in Monroe County," Communications Director Tom Hebert. "As the campaign unfolds, we look forward to contrasting Dr. Maxwell’s record of helping families and saving lives in Monroe County with Joe Morelle’s record of serving Sheldon Silver and refusing to stand up to public corruption in Albany.
"Voters are ready for a change, and we are confident that Dr. Maxwell’s message of revitalizing Monroe County and bringing honesty back to Washington will win in November.”
However, Greenberg says it’s going to all be about turnout, with only 36 percent of voters in that district taking to the polls four years ago.
“The Democrats are hoping there’s going to be this national blue wave, but I think it’s too early to say whether they’re right, or they’re just hoping,” Greenberg said.
He says with November months away, it’s still anyone’s race.
“We’re 11 weeks out from election day, so a lot could change or very little could change over the course of 11 weeks — we’ll have to wait and see.”