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Siena College poll indicates voters prefer Louise Slaughter in 25th Congressional race

Posted at: 09/27/2012 10:52 PM
Updated at: 09/28/2012 1:25 PM
By: Ray Levato

The numbers are in: we have the results of the first major poll in the Congressional race between Republican Maggie Brooks and Democrat Louise Slaughter.   

If the election were held today, and the latest poll numbers are accurate, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter would serve a 14th term in Washington.

The Siena College Research Institute poll shows Slaughter leading Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks by ten points: 52 to 42. The poll samples the attitudes of people likely to vote on election day. Slaughter has a four-to-one lead in the City of Rochester and a narrow four-point lead in eastern Monroe County towns. Brooks, on the other hand, leads by ten points in the western part of Monroe County.

Siena College pollsters asked 28 questions. We've singled out the ones that we think you want answers to.

Question: If the election for member of Congress in the 25th District were held today, who would you vote for?
Slaughter: 52%
Brooks: 42%

With the same question, broken down by gender, Slaughter has a 17-point advantage with women and a four-point advantage with men.

Among the 28 questions, Siena asked voters if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion about both candidates. Slaughter had 59% favorable and 36% unfavorable.

Again, that was better than Brooks, with 51% favorable and 42% unfavorable.

Likely voters surveyed also said Slaughter would do a better job in Washington representing them on health care, education, and the war in Afghanistan. They were more closely divided on who would be better on jobs, taxes, and the federal budget deficit.

We caught up with Louise Slaughter at a news conference at the Susan B. Anthony Square Park. This is the first time we've had a chance to ask her about the race lately.

“Well I thought the internals were wonderful,” Slaughter said. “People trust me so much more on those issues that were terribly important. I like it. I like it a lot and I'm very gratified. But we continue working right up to election day.”

Maggie Brooks was attending an event at Nazareth College.

“I'm not surprised and I'm not concerned,” Brooks said. “We've always been viewed as an underdog in this race. I'm running against a 26-year entrenched incumbent who is being financed heavily by Washington dollars.”

We also got reaction for political science professor, Dr. Tim Kneeland.

“Louise still has favorability, but the key here is to look at the independent voters. That's about a third of the county. They have higher unfavorable ratings for Louise, and lower favorable than Maggie. Maggie has a chance here to secure those votes, which would make this a much closer election than this poll indicates,” he said.

The new 25th Congressional District is a true Monroe County district, whereas Slaughter's current 28th District includes the mostly Democratic cities of Rochester and Buffalo, with a narrow strip of land along the lake connecting the two.

Maggie Brooks was re-elected to a third term as County Executive last year. She's popular and well-known, like Slaughter. Congressional Republicans are interested in this race because for the first time in a long while, a Republican has a chance to win.