Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., has been plagued by scandal most of the year, but his reelection prospects look bright in a Siena College poll released Tuesday that shows him up 10 percentage points on his Democratic challenger in New York's 11th District.
The independent survey shows Grimm taking 48 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Democrat Mark Murphy. Six percent of those polled said they would vote for Green Party nominee Hank Bardel. Siena College surveyed 621 likely voters from Sept. 19-23. The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.9 percentage points.
Murphy, the son of former Staten Island Congressman John Murphy, is largely unknown; 45 percent of respondents said they didn't know of him or had no opinion. Of those who had heard of Murphy, 28 percent viewed him unfavorably and 27 percent favorably. For all the stories circulating about Grimm this year -- particularly the allegations that he conspired to break campaign finance laws with a former associate now in federal custody -- half of 11th District voters view Grimm favorably, and 33 percent expressing an unfavorable opinion of the freshman incumbent. Though he is short of majority support in the ballot test, Grimm appears (at the moment) to have the personal popularity necessary to avoid serious electoral danger.
President Obama polls well in the district, which covers all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, leading Mitt Romney 49 percent to 45 percent and demonstrating some degree of opportunity for his Democratic colleague down-ballot. But the same voters who consistently sided with Obama over Romney on policy questions in the poll also sided with Grimm over Murphy on a variety of issues, including jobs, the budget deficit, and the Afghan war. And Grimm's lead comes in spite of 49 percent of respondents saying they would rather see Democrats control the House of Representatives, compared to 47 percent who wished to see Republicans stay in charge.