Republican Congressman Michael Grimm leads his Democratic rival, former Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia, by four points in a poll released tonight–making the contest for the Staten Island and Brooklyn-based seat a virtual dead heat.
The NY1 News/Capital New York/Siena College Research Institute poll found that 44 percent of voters favor re-electing Mr. Grimm–who faces a 20-count federal indictment for allegedly hiring undocumented immigrants at a restaurant he owned prior to his 2010 election–while 40 percent support Mr. Recchia. The poll’s margin of error is four points.
“With only four points separating the candidates, these next seven weeks look to be a major battle spanning the Verrazano Bridge,” said pollster Steven Greenberg, whose team phoned 585 voters between September 9 and September 14.
The survey found a deep divide between the boroughs. Mr. Grimm enjoys a nine point edge among voters on Staten Island, which makes up the overwhelming majority of the district, and where one quarter of those questioned said Mr. Recchia’s Brooklyn roots and residence makes them less likely to support him.
Mr. Recchia, in turn, has a seven point lead over Mr. Grimm in his native borough. Mr. Greenberg said that Mr. Grimm’s appeal, however, crosses party lines better than it crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
“Currently, each candidate is winning the home court contest, as Grimm leads on the west side of the bridge 48-39 percent and Recchia leads 42-35 percent on the east side, about a quarter of the district,” said Mr. Greenberg. “Grimm has solidified his Republican base, a quarter of the electorate, leads by 14 points with independents, and has the support of more than one-quarter of Democrats.
Mr. Grimm also leads Mr. Recchia among male voters, though women voters are split evenly between the two.
Nonetheless, Mr. Grimm’s very public foibles–which include his indictment, reports of shady campaign fund-raising tactics in his 2010 race and an incident in January when he threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a balcony–have apparently made a dent in his support. Mr. Recchia, however, seems to suffer from a lack of exposure.
“Grimm is viewed unfavorably by nearly half of voters, down significantly from November 1, 2012, when he had a 52-34 percent favorability rating. Recchia is viewed more favorably than unfavorably but he remains unknown to almost half of voters,” Mr. Greenberg said. “While more than half of voters say they’ve seen Grimm commercials or been contacted by his campaign, only a little more than one-third of voters say they’ve been contacted by the Recchia campaign or have seen his commercials.”
Mr. Recchia warned Brooklyn Democrats at a party breakfast yesterday that the contest between himself and Mr. Grimm would be a “very close race.”