A new poll that finds Donald Trump badly trailing Hillary Clinton in the presidential race in New York could be good news for Democrats in the state Senate.
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 Clinton, who has adopted New York as her home, is ahead of Trump by 30 points — 57 percent to 27 percent — in a two-way race.
Siena’s Steve Greenberg said it’s getting late for that to turn around.
While Greenberg noted that the 13 weeks to Election Day “is a long time in the political world” where “anything can happen,” he said the last Republican presidential candidate to win New York was Ronald Reagan 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 said when you drill down into the numbers, Trump’s biggest weakness is among Republican voters.
He said 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.
The numbers hold even though Clinton is not all that popular. Greenberg said 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 Barack Obama was the founder of ISIS, suggesting that Second Amendment rights people could somehow take care of Clinton, and Trump’s fight with a Gold Star family — have not helped, Greenberg said.
“Donald Trump has been in the news a lot over these past few weeks,” Greenberg said. “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.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who in the past has been criticized for not helping Democrats to 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, also has received a prison sentence.
Cuomo met privately with top Senate Democrats in early August, an event first reported by Politico New York.
Sen. Mike Gianaris, the Democrats’ chief campaign strategist, also speaking at the convention, said Democrats welcome Cuomo’s support, but he said 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.
Siena’s Greenberg said even with the immense lead of Clinton in the presidential race, voters in New York have a long tradition 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 said, a presidential year historically has been better for Democrats.