Rochester, N.Y. – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has a sizeable lead over County Executive Maggie Brooks in the 25th Congressional District race, according to a poll conducted by Siena College.
A telephone poll of 634 likely voters this week found 52 percent favor Slaughter, a Democrat, and 42 percent favor Brooks, a Republicans. Slaughter had a 17-point advantage among women. Slaughter also did well among Democrats and city voters. Brooks did better among Republicans, Independents and west side voters.
The poll, the first of the race to be made public, surprised many who thought it would be a closer contest. Slaughter and Brooks are powerhouse candidates, known to voters by their first names.
“I’ve been around a while. Everybody knows me. Everybody knows what I stand for,” said Slaughter. “I’d put my record up against anybody’s, not just what I’ve done but what I need to go back to do.”
“I’m not surprised. We knew it would be an uphill, but we’re positioned really, really well,” said Brooks. “If you look at advertising, the momentum, the campaign is really just starting to heat up.”
Brooks points to the fact the district has a 9 percent Democratic enrollment advantage and she’s running against a longtime incumbent.
The newly-drawn 25th District encompasses most of Monroe County. The poll also found President Barack Obama has a 14-point lead over Mitt Romney. Curt Smith, a University of Rochester Senior Lecturer and former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush, said those numbers hurt Brooks.
“Mitt Romney’s trailing President Obama has had a direct effect on this race,” said Smith. “People, at least right now, are voting their party affiliation.”
“I’ve been reelected in this community five times with an enrollment disadvantage, so Democrats are already supporting me,” said Brooks. “I don’t think I’ve given them any reason to go to someone else.”
Brooks said she will spend time drawing a contrast between her and Slaughter. She said next month’s debates will help.
Slaughter is not taking anything for granted.
“Absolutely not. You know me better than that. I don’t count votes until they go in the machine.”
You can read the poll here