There was a time when I proposed a crazy idea here (and to be clear, it did turn out to be a totally crazy idea) which suggested that if you could find a Republican who was capable of carrying either New York or California the election would be over before it began. Think of it as a “one state strategy.” If you knocked either (preferably both) of those states out from under the Democrats they would have no path to victory. At the time I was picturing somebody more along the lines of Giuliani or even George Pataki, but I briefly wondered if Trump might be able to pull that rabbit out of his hat.
So much for that. Trump didn’t carry New York and in fact he didn’t even come close. But when you look deeper into the final numbers he certainly did exceed expectations. For one thing, there were a significant number of counties (more than a third of them) which went for Obama the past two cycles but this time flipped to Trump. (Press Connects)
The presidential election painted a stark picture of political divide between Upstate New York’s urban and rural counties.
Overall, 21 of New York’s 62 counties flipped from blue to red — from voting for the Democratic candidate to the Republican one — between 2012 and 2016. What had been mottled masses of each color has shrunk, according to the latest figures, to islands of blue surrounding upstate’s large cities and university towns.
While political experts are still sorting through the data, some say a few takeaways are obvious. Rather than a seismic shift, this year’s election points to a coalition of upstate voters mobilized by Republican Donald Trump — similar to the one Barack Obama rode to two victories — but whose staying power is so far unclear.
As the historical data shows, Hillary Clinton won New York, but she reversed a trend which had been in place for decades. Democrats had been increasing their margin in presidential races since the early nineties. Hillary Clinton’s vote total was actually low enough that she barely managed the same share as John Kerry in 2004, well below both of Obama’s efforts in the Empire State.
So yes, one third of New York’s counties changed course in their choice of presidential contenders. Does this mean that New York was just feeling in more of a Republican mood? Nope. One slot further down the ticket, Chuck Schumer was able to wrangle more than half a million additional voters. When you parse that out we find that 640,000 New York voters split their ticket to support Trump while backing Democrats further down the ticket.
But that doesn’t mean that all of the Democrats down the ticket did well. In some areas where liberals traditionally have to fight a bit harder, Democrats were hoping for some form of coattails effect from Clinton such as they saw in 2008 from Barack Obama. That didn’t happen either.
Clinton racked up a big win Tuesday in her home state, taking home 59 percent of the statewide vote while losing the national race to fellow New Yorker Donald Trump.
But her strong overall showing in New York didn’t translate to Democratic wins in most areas of the state. Republicans retained their nine congressional seats and appeared to keep a slim majority in the state Senate…
Republicans, meanwhile, were able to capitalize in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island, picking up key wins in regions where Trump remained competitive.
In 2008, New York’s Republicans took a beating because of Obama’s coattails, with Democrats picking up all but three of the state’s congressional seats. In the following midterms, the GOP came roaring back to triple that number. This time there was zero change on that score. Republicans held on to every seat they held in the state.
So no, New York is still not a state where the GOP can be looking for sweeping, state level victories. But Hillary Clinton turned out to be such a lukewarm offering that her impact on the race here was far more negative than positive. And New Yorkers in significant numbers who were willing to vote for Chuck Schumer took the extra step of splitting their ticket and voting #NeverHillary.