A new Siena College poll shows that if the New York primary was held today, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would handily defeat their opponents.
The two presidential candidates with strong ties to New York make a strong showing in the survey released Monday: Democrat Hillary Clinton remained 21 points ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. At 55-34 percent, the numbers haven't changed since last month’s Siena poll. Siena pollster Steve Greenberg: "The one break we see on the Democratic side more than anything else is an age break, something we see nationally. Voters under 35, they're with Bernie, by a margin of 57 to 40 percent. However, the more reliable voters, historically, have been those older voters. And among voters 55 and older, Hillary Clinton has a commanding 64 to 25 percent lead."
The poll shows that either Clinton or Sanders, who is from Brooklyn, would defeat any Republican opponent in a hypothetical general election. "Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump by 23 points. 57 to 34 percent."
Local historian and former state Assemblyman Jack McEneny predicts Clinton will take New York. "I think the thing with Mrs. Clinton is that she was our Senator for a number of years and has a very wide sense of knowledge of the state. A lot of people know her personally, so it wouldn't surprise me anymore than it would surprise me with Bernie Sanders carrying Vermont against anybody. Hopefully these are the people that know you best and will deliver accordingly. As far as the final vote, I don't see the state going Republican under any circumstances."
Republican frontrunner Trump’s support has surged to almost 50 percent in his home state. "Nearly half of Republicans say they are supporting Trump in the primary. 45 percent support Trump. Tied for second place but a distant second place, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, who both have the support of 18 percent of Republicans."
Ted Cruz holds second place in the Republican delegate count, but lags behind Trump in New York by 34 percentage points.
Former Albany County Republican Committee Chair Don Clarey tells Newschannel 13 that he hasn't seen such a close race this late since the 1976 primary with Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. "It became a real horse race. That's probably the year that sticks in my mind, probably the most contentious and exciting. And Ford won it on the convention floor."
As New York's April 19th primary day draws closer, Greenberg reminds us nothing in politics is written in stone: "We have Michigan, we have Ohio, we have Florida, we have a lot of major states between now and then. Could Clinton wrap it up? Could Trump wrap it up? Certainly possible. But. Six weeks. Don't know. New York very much may be in place still, in one or both parties."
The Siena poll was conducted February 28-March 3 by telephone calls conducted in English to 800 New York registered voters, including 368 Democrats and 229 Republicans. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.