Rep. Charles Rangel is in a bitterly fought primary against state Senator Adriano Espaillat and others, but for all the talk of Rangel losing his grip on power, the latest NY1 poll instead shows him growing his support with the clock ticking down to primary day. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat wants this to be a change election, but our latest NY1/Siena College poll finds the biggest change in this race is Rep. Charles Rangel widening his lead.
Up from nine points a month ago, Rangel is now 13 points ahead, with 47 percent of likely primary voters backing Rangel versus 34 percent for Espaillat, 7 percent for pastor Michael Walrond and 4 percent for activist Yolanda Garcia. Eight percent don't know.
Chris Rohner is what you might call a swing voter, but he was among the large majority of poll respondents who see Rangel's age as an asset, not a drawback.
"I guess I would say right now, even though I think maybe we need a new candidate, that Charles Rangel's a proven, efficient guy," Rohner said.
"I like Charlie Rangel because he's been around for years, and that's the only person that we knew of for so many years," said Veronique Baker, another poll respondent.
Compared to our poll last month, Rangel's numbers have improved across all ethnic groups. Among blacks, he now has 76 percent support, compared to 9 percent for Walrond and just 6 percent for Espaillat.
Where whites had favored Espaillat in our last poll, Rangel now leads among that demographic by five points.
Espaillat does lead by 24 points among Latinos, but that lead shrunk by three points compared to last month.
Still, asked if they'd prefer their Congress member be black or Hispanic, 89 percent said race or ethnicity make no difference.
That includes Rangel supporter Dorothy Porter, who said Espaillat will have his chance.
"I'll vote for this young man when Charlie steps aside," Porter said. "I don't think race should have anything to do with anything."
Our poll also found that Rangel has older voters on his side. Where Espaillat leads by six points among those under 50, those 50 and older go for Rangel, 52 percent to 31 percent.
Espaillat could get a late boost from Thursday's endorsement by the New York Times editorial page, but he's running low on time to sway primary voters in the 13th district. They go to the polls on Tuesday.