There was not a lot of good news for Hillary Clinton in the Hudson Valley on Tuesday night.
A poll released by the Siena Research Institute on the 19th Congressional District was more notable (to me) for its top of the ticket surprise than its tight showing between Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout in the race to replace WAMC’s favorite Republican member of Congress. According to the poll, Donald Trump is winning the district by five percentage points, with 43 percent of voters going for him and only 38 percent for Clinton.
This is alarming for Clinton and her supporters because of what it could signal outside of New York. The Empire State will be blue on Election Day thanks to New York City, but the poll indicates some trends that could be terrifying for Democrats if replicated in the moderate suburbs of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado.
For a little context, President Barack Obama won the 19th Congressional District with 52 percent of the vote in 2012 and was polling at 49 percent in the district in September 2012. In that election Republicans held a slight enrollment edge over Democrats, about 8,000 active voters, and the margin is now less than 3,000 active voters. The improving enrollment trend for Democrats and Obama’s past performance suggests that the base for Clinton in the district should be well above the 38 percent she is polling at now.
One telling sign is that voters in the district don’t like Clinton. Her favorable rating is at 38 percent, which is 4 percentage points lower than Trump and 11 points lower than Obama in 2012.
Worse for Clinton, though, is the gender gap – or lack thereof – in the district. Clinton is only winning 44 percent of female voters, while Trump is pulling in 39 percent.
She is also failing to generate a large lead among voters with a college degree. Clinton doesn’t even have a majority of these voters yet, as she is currently at 47 percent and Trump is at 34 percent.
Considering how well Trump is doing with (white) men and voters without a college degree around the country, women and college-educated voters are key to any Clinton path to victory.
The other terrifying trend for Clinton is her abysmal numbers with millennial voters. Only 25 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 say they are voting for Clinton, while 50 percent are for Trump! (An exclamation mark is warranted here.) And these young people aren’t die hard conservatives because a plurality (48 percent) are currently backing Sen. Chuck Schumer.
A possible explanation for the low Clinton results are the high numbers for the third-party candidates (Gary Johnson at 6 percent and Jill Stein at 5 percent) and undecided voters (8 percent). It’s safe to assume the third-party numbers will drop on Election Day and the undecided voters could be swayed in the final days.
Another safe bet for Clinton’s lack of support could be a Bernie Sanders hangover. Like most of upstate, the 19th Congressional District chose Sanders over Clinton in the presidential primary and now the district has the option of voting for the female embodiment of Sanders.
Only 68 percent of Teachout voters have a favorable view of Clinton. That seems high, but it is 8 percentage point lower than how Democrats view Clinton and it is 13 percentage points below how the Teachout voters view Obama. And this can be seen in their support for Clinton, with only 69 percent voting for Clinton, which is 9 percentage points below Democratic voters for Clinton.
It would be easy for Clinton apologists to write off this poll (flawed model, not a representative district, etc.), but in a year when Donald J. Trump has emerged as the nominee of a major party it would probably be a mistake not to take this data seriously.
NY-19 Siena Poll on Scribd