When it comes to the 2016 general election, New York is not thought of as being a tossup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Indeed, it has been decades since a Republican won the state, but after handily winning on his home turf during the republican primary and after drawing massive crowds at his east coast rallies, Trump is convinced he has a shot.
The New York Times reports that Trump is considering hiring New York pollsters, and he has consistently told aides that he plans to compete in this state.
So does Trump actually have a chance at beating Hillary Clinton in New York? Here are 5 fast facts you need to know.
1. No Republican Has Won New York Since 1984
New York has been a solidly blue state for decades, with no Republican having won it since Ronald Reagan in 1984. This was as part of Reagan’s landslide victory over Walter Mondale; Reagan won every single state except for Minnesota, where Mondale had served as governor.
Most recently, Barack Obama won New York over Mitt Romney by 28 points. Before that, Obama beat McCain by 26 points, Kerry beat Bush by 18 points, Gore beat Bush by 25 points, and Clinton beat Dole by 29 points.
2. Hillary Clinton Is Ahead In Polls
Although general election polls this far out tend to not be entirely accurate, so far Trump is nowhere close to catching up to Clinton. According to The Hill, Clinton currently leads Trump by 19 points, 55 to 36. Bernie Sanders also leads Trump in the state by 17 points.
Another poll released in March shows Clinton beating Trump 57 percent to 34 percent. A lot can change in the next 6 months, but Trump is still at a serious disadvantage that many doubt he can overcome.
“Given how well-known these two candidates are, we don’t have a ton of reasons to expect these numbers to change a lot,” Seth Levine, assistant professor of political science at Cornell University, told The Hill. “Even if Trump managed to swing the 9 percent of undecided folks in this poll to his side, that still wouldn’t be enough to win.”
3. New York Has Twice as Many Democrats as Republicans
Part of the reason Trump says he can win New York is that he believes he can bring Democrats over to his side. However, that does not appear to be the case as of yet. As Raw Story reports, there are 5.8 million registered Democrats in New York compared to 2.7 million registered Republicans. We have not yet seen much of a shift in New York.
But Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, says he believes there will be crossover appeal because Trump is so well known in New York and he employs so many people.
“What you have with Donald Trump is a candidate who is the only candidate in this race that will actually have an opportunity to win states that Mitt Romney didn’t win,” Lewandowski said.
4. He Wants to Win New York’s Working Class Voters
Trump’s strategy for winning New York would be to appeal to the state’s working class population. Anthony Scaramucci, a Republican establishment donor, told The Hill that for this reason, Democrats should not underestimate Trump’s chances.
“You can’t say he has no chance of winning New York,” Scaramucci said. “You can’t underestimate his appeal in the blue-collar community…and he has a heat-seeking laser to find out your personal weaknesses. Whatever you were worried about in middle school, as a kid, and that you’ve carried on into adulthood, he knows what it is, and he’ll bring it out.”
Conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root wrote in The Blaze that Trump is a New York hero and could easily turn it red this November.
“New York is winnable with Trump’s name at the top of the GOP ticket,” he wrote. “Only Trump can win New York and reverse the electoral math for Republicans. Only Trump can open the GOP tent to working class New Yorkers.”
5. It’s One of 15 States Trump Will Focus On
According to The Washington Post, Donald Trump plans to focus on 15 states in the general election, one of which is New York.
Also on the list are a few other traditionally blue states like California, where Trump is holding rallies today despite having already secured the republican nomination.
“We have to win, and I want my energy to be put into the states where it could go either way,” Trump said at a Montana rally. “And we’re going to play heavy, as an example, in California. Now no other Republican — they wouldn’t even go to dinner in California. They wouldn’t do it.”
Other states Trump plans to target include Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Virginia.