New York becoming some kind of swing state?

The staunchly blue, wholeheartedly Democratic state of New York seems to be showing some chinks in the armor this year for Obama. Being a former resident of upstate New York, as of a couple months ago, I can explain this issue fully and it’s beginning to make sense as to why.

For months now, Obama has led New York State polls with well over 15 percentage points, usually over 20 points, as would be expected in such a blue state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by over 2 million. However, a recent poll shows the gap narrowing considerably.

Take with a grain of salt that this is just one poll showing Obama with only a 5 point lead and a couple more are due out later this week:

The important aspect there is the date. The Rasmussen and Quinnipiac polls were taken in late July to early August, nothing else had been done until the Siena poll a few days ago which shows Obama’s lead diminished considerably. I am not a person so naive as to think New York would swing to McCain, I’m sure it will not.

A report on this subject from USAToday:

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York pollster Lee Miringoff thought there would be two hot poll questions for New Yorkers this fall:

1. Which presidential candidate from New York would carry the state in November, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani?

2. Whom should Gov. Eliot Spitzer appoint to the Senate to fill Clinton’s term if she goes to the White House?

To say things didn’t work that way is one of the great understatements of modern New York politics.

Clinton lost the Democratic nominating contest to Barack Obama. Former GOP front-runner Giuliani failed to win a single Republican primary or caucus despite spending tens of millions of dollars.

Even if Clinton had won, Spitzer wouldn’t have been the one deciding who’d replace her. The Democrat resigned as governor in March after he was linked to a prostitution ring.

“A lot can change in six months,” Miringoff says. And so New York is back in the role it has played in presidential elections for the past 20 years.

“In presidential politics, New York’s votes are already assigned,” says Maurice Carroll, a former longtime New York City newspaper political reporter now doing polling on New York issues for Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. “So why should either Obama or McCain give much attention to New York, except for the money, except for the publicity?”

Peter LaMassa, 39, of Massapequa, Long Island, says he doubts the presidential candidates will even bother running many campaign ads in New York.

“It makes you question the whole electoral process,” says LaMassa, who works in financial services. “I think it’s sort of disappointing that only the battleground states get all the attention. It makes some states irrelevant and others so important.”

Even with polls tightening to show Republican John McCain might have a chance to carry the state against Democrat Obama — a Siena (College) Research Institute poll released Monday had Obama up 46%-41% — New York is still irrelevant, Baruch College political scientist Douglas Muzzio points out.

“If Obama is in trouble in New York, that’s the least of his worries,” Muzzio says.

What the Siena poll may be reflecting is New York politics on a local level. Take for example the slew of things going on as recently as earlier this year with Democratic politicians at the state level. First and foremost you had Gov. Eliot Spitzer caught up with his prostitution scandal. Then Spitzer leaves office and the new governor, James Patterson, admits he’s also had affairs and such along with some cocaine use. You also have Rep. Charlie Rangel currently involved in an accounting scandal of sorts. The state is solidly blue which means when politicians screw around, the state Democrats get blamed.

Plus, the biggest, and most obvious thing which may be affecting New Yorkers is that Hillary Clinton was not chosen as Obama’s VP. Hillary Clinton was a popular senator in New York, even with many Republicans. I’m betting that perhaps passing her over left little to be desired amongst New York democrats who were probably banking on their girl getting the VP slot.

I’m thinking that some of it is pouring over into the national arena as well. I have also read that McCain is considering running ads in New York if more polls show the state withing striking distance.

The best McCain could hope for in a close New York race would be to distract Obama from true battleground states such as Ohio and Virginia. Obama could not afford to lose New York in such a close race so he would either have to divert money to the state or ignore it and assume it will still go blue, which I’m sure it would.

Just an interesting dynamic to watch as this race remains so fluid. I’m waiting for more polls later this week to see if they show a trend in New York or if the Siena poll is a complete fluke, which it may very well be.

Still developing…

  • Babs

    I don’t know what to make of this one, Nate. Maybe there’s a lot more people like O_S in New York than we knew. *LOL*

  • Kim

    There is a saying the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. I truly hope this is the year for New York to swing Republican.

  • The only one unresolved question about the 2008 election is whether enough white people will be able to get over their prejudices and vote for Obama. I don’t see why the Democrats are afraid to confront this issue head-on and start talking about it. The dialog on race resumed when Obama began running; now that he’s the nominee, it’s what everyone is thinking about. That’s the reason the race looks close — white folks need to be assured that it’s safe to put a black man in the White House.

  • The NY swing status is largely speculation until more polls come out and either confirm or refute the current Siena poll.

    We shall see in the coming days…

  • Babs

    NatetheGrate – I am a white person, and I am prejudiced against:

    1) The nightmare that is our Democratic Congress, shutting down and leaving us in an energy crisis to take a vacation.

    2) The nightmare that is our economic crisis under a Democratic Congress

    3) The flippant attitude of the Liberal Democrats concerning our national security.

    4) The election of man that embodies all of the above.

    The white guilt ploy is old – it didn’t work last year, or last month, and will not work in November. Playing the race card yet again for the man does him no favors, and makes you look like a jerk.

    Perhaps white AND black folks need to be assured that it’s safe to put a hockey mom and a pitbull in the White House. Because thats who’s going there. 😉

  • Stalin


    I don’t think that Obama would have won the nomination and be nearly tied in the national polls if “white folks” have a problem with a black man in the white house. Sure you will always have people with prejudice, but that works both ways. Obama is garnering over 96% of the black vote. Do they all agree with his policies? Is that not just as bad? Also, Obama is half white so why does everyone refer to him as black…maybe that is racism.

  • Stalin


    Speaking of insanity, check this out:

    What do the top ten cities with the highest poverty rate all have in common?

    Detroit , MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961;

    Buffalo, NY (2nd) hasn’t elected one since 1954;

    Cincinnati , OH (3rd)…since 1984;

    Cleveland , OH (4th)…since 1989;

    Miami , FL (5th) has never had a Republican mayor;

    St. Louis , MO (6th)….since 1949;

    El Paso , TX (7th) has never had a Republican mayor;

    Milwaukee , WI (8th)…since 1908;

    Philadelphia , PA (9th)…since 1952;

    Newark , NJ (10th)…since 1907.

    Einstein once said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
    over and over again and expecting different results.’

    It is the disadvantaged who habitually elect Democrats — yet are still disadvantaged.

  • JD

    “Einstein once said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
    over and over again and expecting different results.’

    It is the disadvantaged who habitually elect Democrats — yet are still disadvantaged.”

    You are right, 8+ trillion dollars in debt from republican rule… Lets try something different.

    As for all the cities you mentioned

    Detroit , MI – Manufacturing city

    Buffalo, NY (2nd)- another manufacturing City

    Cincinnati , OH (3rd – Wait… another manufacturing city

    Cleveland , OH (4th)- SOB… can it be another manufacturing city?

    Could it be that democrats are destroying those economies or maybe it is because…. wait for it…. sending jobs Overseas has begun to take effect on these local economies. I.E. Manufacturing has left the US.

  • Stalin


    Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the debt, so scratch that.

    So you are telling me that urban plight since the 1950’s has been caused by a loss in manufacturing jobs? Perhaps if some of these towns were more business friendly they wouldn’t have lost so many jobs. Unions certainly haven’t helped either, look at GM. Stop looking for someone else to blame.

    Also, Cincinatti has made a pretty dramatic change into a financial sector…oh but wait, the Cincinatti metro-area in general leans Republican.

  • JD

    “Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the debt…”

    ***Some are more responsable than others, Stalin***

    It is kind of like a farting. We all do it but some of us are much much much much worse than others. In this case republicans are the Fart that won’t go away especially when this fart is to the tune of our national debt.

    So I fart in your general direction.

    National debt is primarily from republican administrations. Please see below links. One is debt and the other is percentage of GDP and both point to republicans.

    I am not saying all republican’s in history have been that way but truth be told, this isn’t the republican party of our grandfather’s any more.

  • Bill Hedges

    In SPEAKER OF THE HOUsE private democrat energy bill there is $1.2 billion pork for non-energy . Could this be because of NEW YORK being a swing STATE

  • Dreadsen


    What would that have to do with being a swing state?
    Are you suggesting that the extreme liberal New york is fed up with pork and are now beginning to change their allegiance?

    Stalin how do all the cities in the united state rank?
    Then lets look at all the Rural areas.

  • Bill Hedges

    Pork belly spending given to NEW YORK TO BUY VOTES


    IM from NY and its not going red, Ill bet all my money on that LOL.

  • Bill Hedges

    I hope FOR MCCAIN, but I know nothing about NY

  • Of course, just when we move out of NY to a swing state, NY finally starts shifting towards a republican presidential candidate. Go figure.

  • Babs

    I don’t know, O_S, the arguments I heard yesterday over NY were plausible, as to the reason NY could swing red.

    One was that NY was a little disgusted over the past Democratic Governor’s scandal, where he was replaced by a man who also said he had extra-marital affairs and did cocaine.

    Another was the financial crisis they seem to be finding themselves in, and are unhappy with the state government over it, again Democratic.

    The third was anger at Obama over the Hillary loss. This may be the most compelling argument, and we may in fact see some shift here because of it.

    I don’t think NY will win or lose the election for Obama, but it certainly is an interesting twist.

    CG, I think you’re safe with Virginia. 😉 As for my own state, Obama has pulled most of his workers out and re-assigned them to other states that he might have a chance in. You know he’s been predicting for months now that he would carry the south. Look at the polls. Ain’t going to happen, and he’s finally realized it and pulled out.

  • Will

    “I don’t know what to make of this one, Nate. Maybe there’s a lot more people like O_S in New York than we knew. *LOL* ”

    You think?? You know what they say about New Yorkans…they’re full of themselves, so yes you’d be amazed how many more people like O_S are in New York

  • Didn’t realise we were doing Einstein quotes, here’s one:

    “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

    Stalin your list although fascinating to some small degree is laughable. The fact that mayors are democratically elected, one would concur that these poor people would prefer to stay in poverty than be lead by a Republican.

    So if a Democractic mayor can’t drag them up out of poverty then they obviously must feel that a Republican one would drag them down even further.

  • Bill Hedges

    I lived in small college town after Bush got elected the second time. The left wingers where out in the streets crying. I notice as McCain got even in the polls, The left gets nastier, insulting and vulgar..

  • IndiMinded

    I’m sure you did notice that, Bill. Remember to keep your eyes out for the opposite effect as Obama begins regaining ground. It’s much easier to be nice to the opposition when you don’t see them as much of a threat. But pretty much everyone gets cranky when they’re worried about losing.

  • Stalin


    Didn’t Obama just tell his minions to get angry and get in the faces of the opposition?

  • Bill Hedges

    Ind–I do not understand the anger. In past I was disappointed when Bill Clinton got elcted, But thats it. If Obama gets elected, then thats it. The Electorial College spoke

  • IndiMinded

    So I’ve read Stalin. Well actually there wasn’t anything about getting angry, it sounded like he was telling his supporters to go out and stand up for him. A pretty bizarre statement to me, either way.

    I agree with you Bill, I used to get angry about politics, until I realized what a lose-lose situation politics always is. But if you think that the right doesn’t express much anger, you should perform this experiment: listen to right wing radio and tv carefully for a night or so, and mark down every time insulting language, condescending remarks, or dismissive arguments are used.

    I promise, you’ll get plenty of marks on that sheet, especially if you listen to o’reilly or rush 😉 then if you wanted to contrast that you could turn on some olbermann.

    None of that really gives you an idea of the anger of the supporters though, except that those media bobbleheads exist because people watch / listen to them – so someone must be getting some release out of all that angry media.

  • Bill Hedges

    Ind–I don’t watch Rush. O’Reilly sometimes. Tittles Like right or left I din’t like. You will see some, who love these terms, who do this act childish. To feel superor.sualsi ……They are right and you are wrong…… Period…….Life is not that simple. But Their insecrity ruules. They have need to insult, imflame other to place light upon themself. Need for attention… Their comment will be less rational. Ind.,, insecuity is not a patten of the RIGHT. Is a individual thing. I know you have seen examples of that kind of comments.


    Will you said “You know what they say about New Yorkans…they’re full of themselves, so yes you’d be amazed how many more people like O_S are in New York”

    I really am not full of myself, I am not some rich snob, I actually help run a small business in a small very liberal town and I actually help run the hardware store, So actually I am a normal American not some full of myself liberal, like I get here.

  • Did Bill just say “Tittles Like right or left I din’t like.”? There’s nothing wrong with a nice pair of tittles, left or right, I’m not fussy 🙂 LOL

  • Bill Hedges

    Obama wants to raise taxes on oil companies. Did you know, when considering the equipnment and cost of operation, oil companies profit margin is below par of many businesses. Oil Companies pay devidens to stock holders. Your 401k, your retirement plan, and you ( if you own stock) . ..Higher tax on oil companies will reduce the net worth of middle class working Americas…..ANOTHER HIDEN TAX YOU WILL pay…..Thank Obama..