A majority of registered voters polled by the Siena Research Institute are recognizing the possibility that Republicans could lose control of the state Senate this year, thanks to Hillary Clinton’s commanding lead over Donald Trump in New York.
Echoing the sentiment of Albany pundits, only 31 percent of voters believe Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November will help Republicans maintain control of the state Senate, while 62 percent believe Trump will not help Republicans.
Fifty-seven percent of upstate voters recognize that Trump will not help Republicans hold the state Senate. Fifty-six percent of suburban voters and 57 percent of independent voters agree.
On the other hand, 64 percent of voters say Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket will help Democrats regain control of the state Senate, compared to 29 percent who say she won’t help the Democrats, according to a new Siena College poll of New York state registered voters released Wednesday.
“In their quest to maintain control of the New York state Senate, Republicans — who continue to face a two-to-one enrollment disadvantage to Democrats in New York — have the added burden of following Donald Trump on the ballot. Voters overwhelmingly say both that Trump will not help Republicans hold the Senate and that Clinton will help Democrats regain control,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
“Three-quarters of Democrats say that Trump hurts the Republicans and Clinton helps the Democrats, as do strong majorities of independents. Only half of Republicans think Trump helps them and they are evenly divided on whether Clinton helps the Democrats,” Greenberg said. “Upstaters and downstaters agree that Trump hurts Republican chances of holding the Senate, while Clinton helps Democrats retake the Legislature’s upper house.”
Of the 63 Senate seats, 31 are inhabited by Republicans. However, five “independent democrats” and a sixth conservative democrat who caucuses with the Republicans have kept the GOP in control of the house for the last several years, despite being in the minority.
“Of course, the equation of Senate control is more likely than not going to be decided by whether the Independent Democratic Conference decides to continue its partnership with Senate Republicans or reunites with its Democratic colleagues,” Greenberg said. “Siena will once again be looking more closely at key Senate races across the state as we move into the fall election season.”
Collectively, when asked about their view of the Senate, 41 percent of the voters polled by Siena give it a favorable rating, and 46 percent said they are prepared to re-elect their incumbent state senator. Thirty-nine percent say they would prefer “someone else.”
But upstaters, Republicans and independent voters are less enamored with their own representatives. For example, only 35 percent of upstate voters give the Senate a favorable rating and just 38 percent of upstate voters are prepared to re-elect their own senator, while 48 prefer “someone else.”
Only 36 percent of Republican voters statewide are ready to re-elect their own senator, while 47 percent prefer “someone else.” And only 40 percent of independent voters are ready to re-elect their own senator, while 46 percent prefer “someone else.”
The news is a little better on Long Island and in the New York City suburbs. Forty-three percent of voters there are prepared to re-elect their own senator while 38 percent prefer someone else.
This Siena College Poll was conducted August 7-10 by telephone calls conducted in English to 717 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of 4.3 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.