With a little more than a month before next month's primary, Congressman Charles Rangel has a lead over State Senator Adriano Espaillat—those are the results of our exclusive NY1/New York Times/Siena College poll. However, the numbers show that Rangel can't quite rest easy in the tight race, which still has plenty of undecided voters. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Congressman Charles Rangel is facing the fight of his political life.
In an exclusive NY1/New York Times/Siena College Poll, the dean of New York's congressional delegation is leading his democratic opponents with 41 percentage points.
His most formidable challenger, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, has 32 percent, followed by Pastor Michael Walrond with 6 percent and little-known candidate Yolanda Garcia with 5 percent.
Despite this nine-point lead for the congressman, it is clearly far too soon for Rangel to celebrate.
When we asked voters whether they would prefer to vote for someone else, 46 percent said they would. Forty-two percent said they would vote to re-elect the congressman.
When we spoke to poll participants, they told us it's because they are looking for a fresh face in Washington.
"I am supporting Espaillat, because I think we need new blood in Congress," says poll participant Domingo Belliard.
"Charles Rangel is up in age now and I feel that you know he has had a good run in the Congress and it is time to change," says Constancee watson, another participant.
Rangel would be 84 if he were to win a 23rd term in Washington.
Thirty-five percent of democratic voters told us Rangel's age would make his job too difficult. However, a majority of voters, like Tamir Brown, say it's an asset.
"He is politically astute. He represents the history of Harlem," Brown says.
Seniority aside, since Rangel first took the seat, the district has changed dramatically. It is now majority Hispanic.
Voters appear to be divided along racial lines.
Rangel has a commanding lead among black Democratic voters. 68 percent are in his camp.
Espaillat, who is Dominican-American, has support from 52 percent of Hispanic voters.
While this race is expected to tighten over the next several weeks, this poll does show a majority of democratic voters believe it will be Rangel declaring victory on primary day.