With less than one month before the mayoral primary, challenger Malik Evans leads incumbent Lovely Warren, but the extent of his edge depends on how the numbers are parsed.
Evans, a member of Rochester City Council, leads the mayor by 46% to 45% among very likely voters, according to a WROC-TV/Emerson College poll. Among voters who said they were somewhat likely to vote, Evans led, 59% to 13%.
Overall, Evans led by 49% to 39%. The poll reported that 12% of likely voters remained undecided.
The poll was conducted May 21-22, which by coincidence were the days immediately after Warren’s husband had been arrested on drug and weapons charges.
The poll had been planned for weeks, said Wendy Bello, WROC-TV vice president and general manager. She said questions about the incident were added to gauge influences on voters’ decisions and opinions and had the poll not been updated, it may not have been a pure representation of the political landscape.
In responding to a question about the news, 83% of Democratic voters reported that they are following the story somewhat or very closely. Only 4% of likely voters said they had not heard about the issue.
Among respondents, 39% said the news makes them more likely to vote for Warren, while 25% said they were now less likely to vote for Warren and 36) said the news has no impact on their voting decision.
Warren and Evans were scheduled for debate at 7 p.m. May 25 to be broadcast by WROC-TV, News 8.
Evans had 84% support among white voters compared to Warren at 11%. Warren had a 63% to 31% edge among Hispanic voters and 47% to 37% edge among Black voters. Warren led, 43% to 42%, among college-educated voters while Evans led, 65% to 31%, among non-college educated.
The primary is June 22 and early voting starts June 12.
The poll sampled 1,000 registered voters and used an interactive voice response system of landlines and a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web. The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.
As for other issues addressed by the poll:
- 56% of Rochester voters disapproved of Warren’s handling of the Daniel Prude case, while 17% approve and 23% are unsure. Among Democratic likely primary voters, 59% disapprove of how Warren handled the case.
- 71%, consider the campaign finance charges faced by Warren as either somewhat or very serious, while 21% say the charges are not serious, and 9% were unsure.
- When asked what issue the next mayor should put first, voters report being most concerned with jobs at 26%, followed by police reform at 18%, healthcare at 17%, and housing at 15%.
- As for how City Council has responded to calls for more police accountability: 39% approve, 36% disapprove and 26% are undecided. Among Democrats, 48% approve and 31% disapprove. Among Republicans, 49% disapprove and 28% approve. Independents report the lowest approval rate, at 19%, while 42% disapprove and 39% are unsure.
- 65% of voters view the Rochester Police Department at least somewhat favorably, while 30% view it at least somewhat unfavorably, and 5% are unsure. Independents report the highest favorable rating of the RPD, at 82%, followed by 68% of Republicans. Among Democrats, 58% see the Rochester PD favorably.
- 40% of voters said they would rate the current state of Rochester as fair, while 30% said bad, 22% said good and 7% said excellent.
- 46% opposed potential mayoral control of the Rochester City School District, 26% were in favor and 28% were unsure.
- As for general approval of public officials, 70% of voters in Rochester report approving of President Joe Biden’s job while 25% disapprove. Regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 54% of Rochester voters approve, while 36% disapprove. Current Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has the lowest approval rating, with 35% approval and 51% disapproval.