A new Siena College poll finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 30 points in the presidential race in New York. It could be good news for Democrats in the state Senate.
Donald Trump’s supporters in New York had hoped that the state could be in play for the Queens native, but the latest poll from Siena College finds that Hillary Clinton, who has adopted New York as her home, is ahead of Donald Trump, 57 percent to 27 percent, in a two-way race. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says it’s getting late for that to turn around.
“There are 13 weeks to Election Day. That is a long time in the political world, anything can happen,” said Greenberg, who said however, the last time a Republican presidential candidate won New York was 32 years ago, when Ronald Reagan won the state in 1984.
“That’s a long streak,” said Greenberg. “And at the moment that streak does not appear to be in any jeopardy whatsoever.”
Greenberg says when you drill down into the numbers, Trump’s biggest weakness is among Republican voters. He says the vast majority of Democrats back Clinton, which is to be expected. But only about half of GOP voters are for Trump, with nearly a quarter of Republicans saying they would vote for Clinton. And Clinton leads among New York City votes by a huge margin, as well as suburban, upstate and independent voters. And the numbers hold even though Clinton personally is not all that popular. Greenberg says slightly over half, 51 percent, of New Yorkers view her positively. But nearly three quarters, 72 percent, view Trump negatively.
Recent statements from Trump, including saying President Obama was the founder of ISIS, suggesting that Second Amendment rights people could somehow take care of Hillary Clinton, and Trump’s fight with a Gold Star family have not helped, say Greenberg.
“Donald Trump has been in the news a lot over these past few weeks,” said Greenberg. “And not necessarily for good things.”
A landslide for Clinton in New York could help Democrats retake the state Senate. Democrats, already numerically have the majority, but are split into two factions.
Governor Cuomo, who in the past has been criticized for not helping Democrats take the Senate from Republican control, has begun saying that he will back Democratic candidates. The governor, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, said he’d support Democrats for the Senate, as long as they were of good moral standing.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to support a criminal because they’re a Democrat,” said Cuomo, who said he was not referring to anyone in particular.
Three former Senate Democratic leaders have faced jail time for corruption. The most recent past Senate Republican leader, Dean Skelos, has also received a prison sentence.
Cuomo met privately with top Senate Democrats in early August, an event first reported by Politico New York.
Senator Mike Gianaris, the Democrat’s chief campaign strategist, also speaking at the convention, said Democrats welcome Cuomo’s support, but he says he’s most heartened by Clinton’s increasing strength at the top of the 2016 ticket.
“There’s enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton in New York, and tremendous antipathy toward Donald Trump,” Gianaris said.
Greenberg, with Siena, says even with the immense lead of Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, voters have a long tradition in New York of splitting the ticket when it comes to their local lawmakers.
“They know how to vote for one party for one office and the other party for another office,” said Greenberg, who said the Senate races will be fought “district by district."
But he says it’s a presidential year, and historically that’s been better for Democrats.