As Donald Trump’s various fantasy goals go, winning New York in November doesn’t even top the list—it lags behind building an enormous, Mexico-paid wall on the border, deporting more than 11 million people, and winning California in the general. Still, the idea of an Empire State win is outlandish.
New York hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential contender since 1984, but then again every state save one went GOP that year. Democrats have a more than 3-million-person lead in voter registration, 5.8 million to 2.7 million. President Obama won more than 63 percent of the vote in 2012, besting his 2008 total. Hillary Clinton leads Trump by around 20 points in polling, although it’s very early.
But not only has Trump set his sights on winning his home state, he’s also hired a pollster to assist him. Not just any pollster: He’s reportedly hired John McLaughlin, infamous for working on Eric Cantor’s primary campaign in 2014, when the then-House majority leader lost to upstart Dave Brat. McLaughlin’s internal polling heading into the race showed Cantor leading by 34 points. National Republicans warned other candidates away from using McLaughlin.