Chris Stirewalt – Presenting your New York field guide


Chris Stirewalt – Presenting your New York field guide

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FOX News First: April 19

By Chris Stirewalt



It’s been 72 years since a New Yorker was last elected president. And it’s been 60 years since either party nominated a New Yorker. But as the wild and wooly 2016 primaries roll into the nation’s third-most populous state, New Yorkers stand atop both the Democratic and Republican ranks.

Chris Stirewalt - Old Guard Audio

Chris Stirewalt – Old Guard Audio

While home-state wins for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are to be expected – certainly for Trump, who faces a still-divided GOP – how they win, and by how much could prove very important for the closing weeks of both parties’ nominating processes. And if Clinton were to lose? Well, hold on to your Birkenstocks.

Polls close at 9 p.m. ET, and there’s plenty to know. So grab a crisp empire or any of the more than 40 varieties of apples grown in New York, kick back and enjoy the grand tour of the Excelsior State’s political geography.


Eight years ago, then-Sen. Clinton won her home state by a whopping 17 points and carried away almost half of the delegates. But the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows her on track to do a bit worse than that, and against a substantially weaker opponent.

Could some of the surprisingly close margin in New York be attributable to the fact that her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is a New York native? Sure. But it is also reflective of the listlessness that has marked her frontrunners’ march to the nomination all year.

Most alarming for Clinton is that Sanders has dramatically outperformed pre-election polling in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, which makes an upset possible. A loss in her home state would not permanently ruin Clinton’s chances, but it would be a devastating setback.

The state’s closed primary does help her, since the independents and fringe-party members that might naturally support Sanders can’t play. She can also count on the astonishing diversity of the New York metro area, and the voters of the many wealthy enclaves beyond the subway lines.

But Sanders can find lots of reason to hope in a city that elected Bill de Blasio as its mayor and in a state that has seen a leftward lurch in its politics over the past decade. The Vermont senator only started actively seeking votes in New York at the end of March, but has been pouring it on since then.

A whopping 247 delegates will be awarded on the basis of today’s election on the Democratic side. Of those, 84 will be divided proportionately between Clinton and Sanders on the statewide level. But the real delegate haul is at the congressional-district level where the state’s 27 districts will award a total 163 delegates, also proportionately based on the popular vote by district.

The candidates have been looking high and low for potential voters, but where should you be looking for the keys to victory on the Democratic side?

[Dem delegate count: Clinton 1758; Sanders 1076 (2,383 needed to win)]


Both Clinton and Sanders can claim New York City as a place to shine today, but for very different reasons. Clinton will expect to do well in places like the Bronx, where non-Hispanic white voters are a tiny sliver of the electorate, while Sanders will be aiming for the hipster youth and older liberals in places like Brooklyn.

Kings County: Brooklyn

–7th, 8th, 9th congressional districts

–Population: 2,621,793

–Median household income: $46,958

–Race: Caucasian (non-Hispanic), 39 percent; Hispanic, 20 percent; black, 35 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 32 percent

–2012 election: Obama 82 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 12 percent

–Originally its own separate city, Brooklyn did not become part of the City of New York until the turn of the century dubbed the “Great Mistake of 1898” by many in Brooklyn at the time.

Bronx County

–15th, 16th Congressional District

–Population: 1,455,444

–Median household income: $70,794

–Race: Caucasian “non-Hispanic,” 11 percent; Hispanic, 55 percent; black, 44 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 18 percent

–2012 election: Obama 91 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 11 percent

Edgar Allen Poe wrote several famous poems in his Bronx home, including Annabel Lee.


If Sanders and his supporters could build a world all of their own, it might look a lot like Central New York: farms, college towns and staunchly liberal politics.

This is the Sanders breadbasket this year. Central New York included some of Clinton’s weakest spots in the 2008 primary and promises to do so again. Syracuse University, Ithaca College, Cornell University and the white rural voters who reflect Sanders’ home state of Vermont should deliver bigly for him.

Tompkins County: Ithaca

–23rd district

–Population: 104,926

–Median household income: $52,836

–Race: Caucasian, 82 percent; black, 4 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 50 percent

–2012 election: Obama 52 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 12 percent

–Ithaca has its own local currency called, HOUR, started in 1991 to keep money in the local economy. HOUR is equal to roughly $10 and is widely accepted in the town.

[Watch Fox: Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier team up to bring special coverage of the New York primary tonight starting with “Special Report” at 6 p.m. ET]


After the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881, Vice-President Chester Arthur became the third New Yorker to ascend to the presidency. But Arthur, whose wife had died the year before, didn’t move into the White House right away. Instead, Arthur ordered what was likely the first-ever professional redecoration of the executive mansion. Vintage Designs has the story: “Louis Comfort Tiffany is now probably most famous for his work in glass, particularly his stained-glass windows. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, he and his company were also a popular firm of interior designers; they were often hired to decorate homes of the rich and famous, including Mark Twain’s home…Tiffany himself described some of the work done to the White House: At that time we decorated the Blue Room, the East Room, the Red Room and the Hall between the Red and East Rooms, together with the glass screen contained therein. …”

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Real Clear Politics Averages

National GOP nomination: Trump 40.3 percent; Cruz 31.3 percent; Kasich 21.5 percent

National Dem nomination: Clinton 47.7 percent; Sanders 46.3 percent

General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +9.3 points

Generic Congressional Vote: Democrats +1


The big question for Republicans in New York today is how “yuge” is “yuge.” While a candidate always likes to win by a healthy margin, frontrunner Donald Trump has extra incentive to run up the score in his home state.

If Trump gets more than 50 percent of the statewide vote in New York’s GOP-only primary, he automatically gets 14 of the state’s 95 delegates. No big whoop. But, he can really start to add to his totals in the state’s 27 congressional districts.

Each district has three delegates to award. First place gets two delegates, while the second-place finisher gets one, provided they get at least 20 percent of the vote. But if Trump gets more than half of the vote district by district, he gets all three delegates.

It’s conceivable that Trump could sweep the state, which would mean an almost 50 percent increase in his delegate lead over Sen. Ted Cruz. It would also shift Trump’s path to clinching the nomination outright to much more certain terrain.

That would be a great night for Trump, as would any outcome that features a majority statewide and majorities in at least half the districts. If Trump grabs 75 delegates or more, he’s really making the most of his home-state advantage.

And given that the Real Clear Politics average for the state shows Trump not just 30 points ahead of Cruz but clearing the 50-percent threshold, he ought to be able to get at least 60 delegates without breaking a sweat.

If Trump misses a statewide majority and/or gets less than two thirds of the delegates available, he will have underperformed.

Given the fact that the primary is closed to non-Republicans and party switchers would have needed to have changed their registrations in October to be eligible, GOP stalwart Cruz has some hopes of snatching some of the relatively scant numbers of party loyalists and conservatives in the state.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, meanwhile, hopes to bag some delegates in the tonier precincts where the dying vestiges of country club Republicanism live on.

With voter turnout expected to crush the puny showing of less than 200,000 in the no-consequence 2012 GOP state primary, you should get to know who New York’s remaining Republicans are and how to win their votes.

[GOP delegate count: Trump 756; Cruz 559; Kasich 144 (1,237 needed to win)]


Only New York City could have produced Trump. Born to privilege but in an outer borough, Trump has learned to surf through the city’s celebrity obsessed media maelstrom like no other businessman. The gossip columns and the business pages, for good and ill, have been his haunts for more than 30 years.

What sets Trump apart from other tycoons is that he has always been a blue-collar guy’s idea of what a rich guy should be like. His wealth equates not to mergers and acquisitions and wood-paneled private clubs, but wealth that buys the privilege of saying whatever he wants, always having a beautiful model on his arm and opulence that would make a sultan blush.

It’s worked with voters in places like Massachusetts and New Hampshire already, and Trump knows there are a lot of the same kinds of guys in his native city.

Take Richmond County – Staten Island – home to the lone Republican district in the city. As has been much reported, Trump should have a blow-out victory here, with some projections saying he could top 60 percent. His tough-talk and bullish attitude represent the ethos of the so-called “forgotten” borough of New York perfectly.

What makes the New York metro area so different is that Trump’s support will extend beyond the working-class voters who have sustained him elsewhere, especially on Long Island where Trump’s style and rhetoric don’t offend as they have in other upscale suburbs.

Richmond County: Staten Island

–11th Congressional District

–Population: 473,279

–Median household income: $53,482

–Race: Caucasian, 77 percent; black, 12 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 29 percent

–2012 election: Obama 50 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 15 percent

–Todt Hill, located here, is one of the highest points on the East Coast at 410 feet above sea level.

Suffolk County: Long Island

–1st, 2nd and 3rd congressional districts

–Population: 1,501,587

–Median household income: $88,323

–Race: Caucasian, 85 percent; black, 8 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 32 percent

–2012 election: Obama 51 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 15 percent

–Long Island’s Gold Coast served as the backdrop to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.


Although Western New York is close to Kasich’s turf in neighboring Ohio, his favorability doesn’t carry over into the Empire State. This part of the state will tend to act much more like the Rust Belt and Appalachian counties where Trump has dominated in earlier contests. Buffalo and its environs should be as good to Trump as places like Detroit and North Georgia.

Erie County: Buffalo

–26th district

–Population: 922,578

–Median household income: $51,050

–Race: Caucasian, 80 percent; black, 14 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 31 percent

–2012 election: Obama 57 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 17 percent

–In 1886, Buffalo became the first city to have widespread street lamps thanks to the power provided by Niagara Falls.


The remaining Republican stronghold in New York is the Upstate region, and that means it’s the best bet for Cruz and maybe Kasich to snag delegates today.

Cruz has invested in some New York City districts where there are vanishingly few Republicans, like the Bronx, where fewer than 1,700 Republicans voted in the 2012 primary. But you don’t need microtargeting to find Republicans north of Albany.

The region fits Cruz’s demographics so far: more Republican, a higher median income, a higher percentage of college educated people. What could cause him to fall short, however, is a split among these voters between him and Kasich potentially leaving Trump with a plurality to take two of the three delegates.

Albany County

–20th Congressional District

–Population: 309,381

–Median household income: $59,940

–Race: Caucasian, 78 percent; black, 14 percent

–Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 39 percent

–2012 election: Obama 64 percent

–Residents 65 and older: 15 percent

–The very first passenger railroad in America was the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad, which ran from Albany to Schenectady.


Teddy Roosevelt is famous for his love of hunting, but he and his family loved live critters, too. As president, Roosevelt brought his six children with him to the White House and the children brought their many, many pets. The National Parks Service brings us the tale of one of the Roosevelt children and his unlikely animal friend: “At age 9, Archie Roosevelt was granted a pet badger named Josiah, ‘whose temper was short but whose nature was fundamentally friendly.’ The boy would carry him about, holding him in his arms, ‘clasped firmly around what would have been his waist.’ When it was suggested by his father that the badger might take advantage of his situation to bite his face, Archie, seeing this as an ‘unworthy assault on the character of Josiah,’ replied: ‘He bites legs sometimes, but he never bites faces.’”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.


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