The New York primary is less than a week away, and at least four new polls are out. The polls are by Quinippiac, PPP, Baruch College, and Liberty.
Donald Trump is far ahead in each. His share ranges from 51 percent (PPP) to 60 percent (Baruch).
Ted Cruz runs third, just behind John Kasich, in all three polls. His share ranges from 14 percent (Baruch) to 19 percent (Quinnipiac).
In the RCP average, which covers eight polls taken since early April, it’s Trump 54, Kasich 21, and Cruz 18. In no poll taken during this period is Trump below 51 percent. In no poll is his lead less than 26 points.
Politico reports that Trump is weakest in upstate New York, but strong even there. It cites a Liberty Research poll (which is included in the RCP average) that puts Trump’s upstate support at 50 percent, compared to 67 percent in New York City and 60 percent on Long Island and in other NYC suburbs. [Note: (1) these numbers, coupled with the proposition that Trump is weakest upstate, seem inconsistent with the poll’s finding that Trump’s statewide support is at 52 percent; (2) the numbers reported by Politico don’t seem quite to match the poll’s cross-tabs, though maybe I’m missing something].
In the Liberty poll, as reported by Politico, Cruz is at 22 percent in upstate New York. Kasich does slightly better at 24 percent.
Because he is lagging comparatively, albeit not substantially, upstate, Trump has focused his efforts there. Recently, he held very large rallies in Rochester and Buffalo.
Trump’s message — that Rochester (and, presumably, Buffalo) “will boom again” — seems like a winning one, if the folks up there are willing to suspend disbelief.
Speaking of disbelief, Trump may be using phony stats to make his point. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports:
[Trump] came armed with statistics about the Rochester economy, some of which missed the mark. He claimed, for example, that Rochester had lost 4,000 jobs in the past six months. But according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rochester metro gained 1,337 jobs.
Regardless, Trump promised a turnaround: “I’m telling you, I will bring it back so fast.”
One Trump supporter told the newspaper, “So much of what [Trump has] said, I’ll admit, sometimes he doesn’t say the right things. But he means the right thing.”
Political candidates don’t usually get this sort of benefit of the doubt. Normally, it works the other way around — people hear candidates say “the right thing” but doubt their sincerity.
If Trump is the Republican nominee, the electorate as a whole will neither suspend disbelief nor give him the benefit of the doubt. Nor should it.