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Poll: Sanders, Bloomberg Lead In New York Democratic Primary

Two candidates lead the pack about two months before New York's Democratic presidential primary.

Two months before the Empire State's April 28 primary, a couple of New Yorkers have emerged as frontrunners:  former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York City-born Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Steve Greenberg is with the Siena College Research Institute, which released the new poll Monday.   "Right now, among registered Democrats, Sanders has a small lead. He has the support of 25 percent, compared to Mike Bloomberg, who has the support of 21 percent, followed by all the other candidates who trails Sanders by double-digits. Biden has 13 percent, Warren 11, Mayor Pete has 9 and Amy Klobuchar also has 9 percent. When Democrats are asked which of these candidates they think has the best chance to win, Bloomberg tops the list. A third of Democrats thinks he has the best chance to win, followed by Sanders at 22 percent, Biden at 16 percent, and the other three candidates all in single digits."

While poll results have all six leading Democratic candidates currently leading President Trump by double digits, Greenberg says most New Yorkers think the Republican is on track to win a second term come November.   "Even in true blue New York, New Yorkers overwhelmingly think President Donald Trump will be re-elected in November. 62 percent of New Yorkers think the president will be re-elected, 29 percent say he will not be. Even a plurality of Democrats, 48 percent of Democrats think Trump will be re-elected compared to 41 percent who think he will not."
The survey asked Democrats which is more important when deciding who to vote for, a candidate you agree with on more issues or a candidate you think can win.   "A small majority, 51 percent of Democrats say they're looking for a candidate who agrees with them on more issues. 45 percent say they are looking for a candidate who can beat Trump. Interestingly, the biggest divide is 80 percent of voters under 35 are looking for a candidate they agree with on issues, but nearly two-thirds of voters 55 and older are looking for a candidate who can beat Trump." 

"Downstate suburban and upstate Democrats, as well as liberal and older Democrats are inclined to vote for the candidate they see as having the best chance to beat Trump." ~ Pollster Steve Greenberg

Which Democrat has the best chance to win in November? According to Greenberg, one-third of Democrats say Bloomberg, followed by Sanders and Biden. Bloomberg has the best chance according to older voters, who score him higher on favorability. Sanders has the best chance according to younger voters, who overwhelmingly view him favorably.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke highly of Biden early in the campaign, but says he hasn’t made a formal endorsement. He spoke about Sanders’ standing in the Siena survey Monday at the capitol.   “It was within the margin of error, and it's 25 percent. It's not like you're talking about 50 percent  60 percent  25 percent of the Democrats say they like Bernie. I don't know. Is that an overwhelming endorsement?”

Previous Siena polls showed Biden and Warren as the top contenders for the nomination.  Greenberg noted  "Well, no, Republican presidential candidate has carried New York since Ronald Reagan back in 1984 and that street doesn't look like it's going to end this year."

The poll was conducted in English from February 16 through 20 by telephone calls to landline and cell phone numbers held by 658 New York state registered voters.  Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. It has an overall margin of error of + 4.5 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. There were 315 registered Democrats with a margin of error of +6.6 percentage point including the design effects resulting from weighting. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (ASDE) and cell phone (Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party by region, race/ethnicity, and gender to ensure representativeness.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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