Most New Yorkers are evidently supporters of Hillary Clinton, but even the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state doesn’t have the positive numbers to match two other popular Democrats.
The Siena Research Institute Poll released Wednesday shows Clinton’s edge over Republican Donald Trump among likely voters in New York has increased to 24 points (54-30 percent) in a four-way race that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
New Yorkers, however, are even bigger fans of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and President Barack Obama. While Clinton’s favorability rating is 52 percent, compared with 26 percent for Trump, 63 percent of New Yorkers have a favorable opinion of Schumer. Even more, 64 percent, have a favorable opinion of Obama.
“There is a saying, ‘The most dangerous place to be is between Chuck Schumer and a microphone,’ ” said Alan Chartock, president of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. “But Schumer is a workaholic. He hits every single county in the state, and he has a terrific sense of humor, which I know all too well. Even if you have disagreements with him, you forgive him his trespasses because you like him, and he’s a very decent man.”
Schumer is running against Wendy Long, a litigation attorney and a New York City resident who lost the 2012 senatorial election to Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand by 72.2 percent to 26.3 percent. Her defeat was the largest margin for any statewide candidate in New York history.
Along with the significant gap between her and Schumer, the Siena Poll also indicated New Yorkers just don’t know that much about her. Her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both at 12 percent, while 76 percent of the people polled didn’t know how they felt about her or had no opinion.
Chartock referred to Long as a “sacrificial lamb” in the election, and Skidmore College professor Christopher Mann agreed with him.
“Wendy Long has been a loyal Republican doing a thankless task by taking on Sen. Gillibrand in 2012 and now Sen. Schumer,” said Mann. “The Republicans don’t want to leave these races uncontested, but no one with ambition wants to risk the kind of defeat these two popular Democrats will deliver in Presidential elections. She is unknown to the public because she isn’t an officeholder, and since she has little chance of winning, she can’t raise the money to campaign effectively in an expensive state like New York.”
The president’s popularity doesn’t come as a surprise to Mann.
“President Obama’s popularity is fairly typical of Presidents as they come to the end of their term,” he said. “George W. Bush suffered declining ratings through the end of his 2nd term, but this is likely due to the Great Recession. Most presidents benefit from being seen as less partisan than the candidates to replace them, and from disengaging from partisan conflict as policy-making stalls as Congress waits for the election outcome.
“President Obama is certainly benefiting from being seen more positively than either candidate to replace him during this particularly nasty campaign.”
In the presidential race, Clinton’s 54-30 percent lead over Trump is up from 51-30 percent last month. Johnson is at 5 percent and Stein 4 percent.
“New York is poised to be a blue presidential state for the eighth consecutive election,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Clinton gets stronger support from Democrats than Trump gets from Republicans, and Clinton has now opened a 17-point lead with independents, up from just two points last month.”
The results of the poll also showed Clinton with a 16-point lead among male voters and a 31-point lead with women in New York. White voters give Clinton an eight-point lead over Trump, while the Democratic nominee is enjoying a 74 percent lead among Black voters and a 49 percent gap among Latinos.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has a 56 percent favorable rating, down from 77 percent in February of this year.