Where each candidate stands ahead of New York’s primary
Lifelong New Yorker Donald Trump currently holds a commanding lead in the state’s race for the GOP nomination, with an Emerson University poll putting his support among Republican voters at 55 percent, compared to a paltry 21 percent and 18 percent for his rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz, respectively.
Nailing down a landslide victory is particularly important in New York’s Republican primary, since its 95 delegates are awarded in a winner-take-most fashion, according the state GOP’s rules.
“We have to win by big numbers!” Trump told thousands of supporters in the city of Poughkeepsie on Sunday.
The Manhattan real estate magnate has won the support of prominent New York City resident and longtime friend Rudy Giuliani, who served as mayor during the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Giuliani has said that he would vote for Trump in the primary, but stopped short of giving him a full endorsement.
Michael Bloomberg, fellow billionaire and another former New York City mayor, doesn’t have such a positive view of the Donald, calling the front-runner’s campaign “divisive and demagogic” and even going so far as to refuse the possibility he had considered of entering the presidential race as a third-party candidate because of fears that it would help elect Trump.
The Emerson poll shows that, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, who served as US senator of New York from 2001 to 2009, enjoys the support of 55 percent of likely Democratic voters in the state. However, her lead is much less pronounced than Donald Trump’s, since her sole opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is backed by 40 percent of New York state residents.
Clinton and Sanders faced off at a debate in Brooklyn on Thursday, where he pointed out that Clinton has thus far only “cleaned our clock” in southern states, chalking it up to the fact that the South is the most conservative part of the US.
However, a Monmouth University poll of New York voters showed that there may be a another important factor. While the two are just about tied among non-white voters, among black, Hispanic and other non-white voters, Clinton holds a solid lead. The South’s significant black population is believed to have propelled her to victories there.
“I think she’s working very hard on the ground,” Representative Gregory Minks (D-New York), who endorsed Clinton, told RT. “I can tell you, in New York, for those of that are supporting her, she is focused on making sure that we have a high turnout.”
Sanders, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, is trailing Clinton by double-digits, sitting at 40 percent in the latest poll. However, he warns against discounting him in New York due to his poll numbers, since he has pulled off upset victories in other states.
“Those are the public polls. The bottom line is, let’s look at the real poll tomorrow,” the Vermont senator told NBC’s Today. “Generally speaking, polling has underestimated how we do in elections.”
Sanders noted that he was trailing Clinton by as many as 25 points before he pulled off a surprise win in Michigan on March 8.
“The main point is, I think, we have a message that’s resonating all over this country,” Sanders said. “We have enthusiasm. We have energy. People understand it’s too late for establishment politics and economics. They want real change in the country. They want leadership to stand up to the billionaire class. That’s what we are providing.”
On Monday, less than 24 hours before the polls are set to open, Sanders ratcheted up attention on his opponent’s ties to big money, questioning whether the Clinton had violated legal limits on campaign donations by paying staffers with money from a joint Clinton/DNC fundraiser.
Robby Mook, chairman of the Clinton campaign, denied any wrongdoing.
Though 21 percent support might not seem like much, in New York the Ohio Governor is notably edging out Ted Cruz, who has put a dent in Trump’s momentum recently by sweeping a few states in a row.
John Kasich, a moderate Republican, notably won the endorsement of Theodore Roosevelt IV, the great-grandson of New York native and ex-president Theodore Roosevelt himself.
“I have known Governor Kasich for years. In my opinion he is by far the best-qualified Republican candidate and the only one who could win the general election,” Roosevelt, a prominent GOP conservationist, said in a statement.
While Kasich polls favorably against both Clinton and Sanders in hypothetical general election match-ups, he has won so few delegates so far, that it would be mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination except at a contested convention.
Though Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has recently made strong showings in states like Wisconsin and Utah, the Emerson poll shows him running into a snag in the New York primary, drawing the support of only 18 percent of Republican voters.
In a televised January GOP debate, Cruz criticized Trump for having “New York values,” suggesting Trump was out of touch with the rest of the country. At a recent town hall on ABC’s Good Morning America, however, the candidate defended his remark.
“Now let me be clear, as I’ve said many times: the people of New York, the folks here, y’all have suffered under the left-wing Democratic policies year after year after year that are foisted [on you] by politicians who aren’t listening to you,” Cruz explained
When host George Stephanopoulos asked the Texas Senator if he knew that the remark had hurt his numbers in the Empire State, Cruz responded: “Well, I do know that it has hurt me with media. But I will say if there ever comes a day when I’m winning the poll among the media, I will have done something profoundly wrong, and I’m not holding my breath.”