Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Key Counties to Watch in the New York Primary

On April 19th, the New York primary will take place. Donald Trump is expected to win on the Republican side but on the Democratic side, if Secretary Clinton wins here and she wins with a large margin (10% or more), she could solidify her position as the frontrunner and make her delegate lead nearly insurmountable in top of the media fallout that would have occurred if she were not victorious.

Sen. Sanders has had a string of wins and is hoping that if he wins New York, the win can generate momentum to carry California and then give him the imputes to persuade super delegates to support him. At the same time, Sen. Sanders  needs to win 56% of the remaining delegates and if he loses New York by more than 10 points, not only does the delegate deficit  become larger, he loses the momentum he needs for any success the campaign would have. The RCP polling average shows Secretary Clinton with a 14 point lead, showing  she is on track to win with the margin she needs.   Furthermore, one of the most demographically favorable states for him, Wisconsin went for him by 14 points, barely above the 12 point average he needs through the rest of the contest and not enough for any significant changes in the race for the nomination.

This article is  a county by county analysis showing which counties and demographic groups to watch on Election night.

Sen. Sanders’ strategy: Win crushing margins in Upstate, especially in the 21st district (near Vermont), keep Hillary’s margins in the New York City Boroughs low, win Manhattan and win Suffolk County. Also outperform the Teachout map (Zephyr Teachout  was a Progressive primary challenger for Governor Cuomo in 2014 and lost by 28 points but played well with white rural upstate voters).
Teachout vs. Cuomo Map:
Yellow = Cuomo
Green = Teachout

Secretary Clinton’s strategy: Win all five boroughs, win overwhelming margins  with African Americans and Latinos, win Suffolk County, win the Lower Hudson River Valley, win all major urban areas Upstate and surprise the pundits by winning some rural counties Teachout won.  

Predicted County Map for the New York Primary:
New York Map election.png
Dark Blue = Clinton
Light Blue = Sanders
Gray = Too close to Call/not enough information

New York City Boroughs:
New York City.png
Yes, Brooklyn may be famous for its hipsters and I am sure we all know which Democratic candidate  hipsters will back. At the same time, Brooklyn has a large African American population (34%) and a large Jewish population (23%). Many of those Jews are Orthodox and as shown by Hillary’s margins in heavily Jewish Palm Beach County in Florida, she is very popular with New York Jews. A Fox News poll also showed her with a 59%-35% lead among Jews, and it is probably higher with Orthodox Jewish population. While Sen. Sanders may play better with younger and more secular Jews in Manhattan, there are many Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn who should wind up voting for Clinton. My grandmother grew up in Brighton Beach so I have a genuine  connection to Brooklyn and have learned very much about the Brooklyn culture from her. Secretary Clinton won Brooklyn by under one point in 2008 vs. then Sen. Barack Obama despite performing poorly with the African American community.  With the added support from African Americans, Hillary should increase her margin and win Brooklyn with 58%-60% of the vote.  

Staten Island:
On paper, Staten Island should be Sen. Sanders country. It is white and working class. At the same time, it should support Secretary Clinton because many Democrats here are generally conservative and also, there is a growing minority population as well that would keep the Sanders numbers lower than anticipated.

While Sen. Sanders may not win Manhattan, this is the borough he would have the best chance to win. The reason is that while many voters here may be the “limousine” liberals that would potentially vote for Sanders, there are large numbers of college students in NYU and Columbia that would vote with Sanders. Secretary Clinton will likely win Manhattan due to strong support from Harlem and Washington Heights (Manhattan has an 18% African American population and a 26% Hispanic population) but it could be close.

Sen. Sanders may play better here than Brooklyn but the 21% African American and 28% Latino figures do not help him. Still I expect a tighter margin here than in Brooklyn (about 56%-57% for Secretary Clinton). The reason is that Queens is 25% Asian and Bernie has been shown to perform better with Asian voters than African American and Latino voters.

If Secretary Clinton’s margins with Puerto Ricans are similar to her Floridian margins with Puerto Ricans (many Floridian Puerto Ricans moved there from New York), expect a resounding performance here, with about 65% of the vote. If Sen. Sanders does better than expected  among Latinos (one poll shows a tie while others show Secretary Clinton leading with Latinos), expect a Secretary Clinton win but narrower (57%).

Suburban Counties:
New York suburbs.png

Nassau County:
Attacking Wall Street works across most of the country but in Nassau County with cities such as Great Neck and Oyster Bay with large Wall Street populations, it definitely does not. Secretary Clinton should win Nassau County and having heavily African American Hempstead in the county does not hurt either (Nassau County is 13% African American).

Rockland County:
Despite being Jewish, Sen. Sanders has struggled to perform well with older and Orthodox Jewish voters (but plays better with secular, younger and Progressive Jews) as mentioned earlier. Due to the high Orthodox Jewish population in Rockland County with a 31% Jewish population (highest % of Jews in any county in the U.S), I would expect a solid victory for Secretary Clinton.

Suffolk County:
If Sen. Sanders wins one suburban county, it will be this one. The African American and Hispanic populations are lower here. There is also less wealth here than in Nassau County and many of the middle class south shore voters may be open to Sanders. If Sanders fails to win Suffolk County, expect a bad night for him.

Westchester County:
Besides being Secretary Clinton’s home as a Senator, Westchester County was almost made for her. Not only does it have a sizable African American and Latino population (16% and 24% respectively), it also has large number of wealthy white voters. Those voters are Secretary Clinton’s strength (as shown in the Massachusetts suburbs on Super Tuesday) so she should perform well here.

Upstate New York:
Upstate New York.png
I expect Sen. Sanders to play  well here and win most of the central rural counties, due to the high number of progressive rural white voters and proximity to his home state Vermont (yes, I expect Secretary Clinton to lose “Clinton County” because it borders Vermont and has the demographic profile of counties Sen. Sanders wins). Secretary Clinton though has relationships in Upstate Counties and performed well in the 2008 primary. The NBC poll shows Sen. Sanders with a 1 point lead in Upstate, suggesting a close race here. The counties where Secretary Clinton can perform the best include:

Erie County (Buffalo):
On March 15th, Secretary Clinton surprised many pundits by not only winning Ohio but winning by 14 points and winning urban areas that faced large manufacturing job loss such as Cleveland and Toledo. Buffalo is similar demographically to many of those Ohio cities and Erie County has a 13% African American population, suggesting Secretary Clinton should play well here.

Albany County:
Due to the 12% African American population and large number of voters here involved in New York politics (New York politicians and political workers are firmly behind Secretary Clinton), I expect she will carry Albany County.

Monroe County (Rochester):
With the 16% African American population and similarity to Buffalo, Secretary Clinton  should win here as well.

Orange County:
This county is a fine boundary between Upstate and Downstate with a small population of Jewish voters, some Latinos (19%) and some African Americans (12%). I expect a Secretary Clinton  win here due to demographics and Orthodox Jews in places such as Kiryas Joel but the progressives here may keep it close for Sen. Sanders.

Other borderline Upstate/NYC Metro Counties: I expect Secretary Clinton to win Putnam County due to the high income level of the voters. The counties Bernie should win include Dutchess and Ulster (Secretary Clinton won Ulster by only 3 in 2008).

Overall, I expect a 10%-15% win for Secretary Clinton in New York. Her ability to win demographic groups such as African Americans, Latinos and Jews will be extremely helpful here, as well as Bernie’s stalled momentum after the Daily News Interview, the delegate tie in Wyoming (most pundits expected a blowout there), and the “not qualified” comment he recently made.

Here is how I see New York Regionally:
Secretary Clinton will most likely win all five boroughs with the closest being Manhattan..
Secretary Clinton will win all the suburban counties with the possible exceptions of Suffolk and Orange Counties.
Secretary Clinton will lose in Central Upstate due to the Progressive streak and proximity to Vermont but may do well in Western New York (Buffalo, Rochester) due to the similarities to the voters she won in Ohio and relationships she previously built as Senator.

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