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The consensus of the polls is that Hillary Clinton is winning New York by about 10 points, but she’s been working here like she’s down three. Watching her battle so hard against a theoretically outclassed foe brings to mind the fictional between-round words, “I wantcha to stick and move...”
“He doesn't know it's a damn show. He thinks it's a damn fight. Now finish this bum and let's go home.” — Apollo Creed’s trainer to his fighter in the first “Rocky” movieLettersYour election reflections2016 election2016 Voters Guide: What to know More coverageOpinion and analysis about the 2016 presidential campaign
If Clinton wins big enough in New York, she can make it clear that she’s the Democratic nominee. She can’t make Bernie Sanders end his road show, but a huge victory might persuade the Vermont senator to stop the incoming and instead continue building his electric political movement.
In the long run, however, if she wins Tuesday night, her margin of victory might be more important to Republicans. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump says he can carry New York in November, which would make him the first Republican to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1984. If he manages to pull more votes than her, it’s only going to burnish his claim that he can win the Empire State.
And, hopefully, give us the chance to whip out more “Rocky" quotes from our encyclopedic trove.
— Lane Filler
The absentee ballots
Even if Hillary Clinton wins by double digits on Tuesday, Bernie Sanders may still leave New York with more than just a few souvenirs.
Delegates are awarded proportionally by congressional district, so if Sanders gets 41.6 percent of the vote in a district with six delegates, he only takes two. However, if he ekes that out to 41.7 percent, he will split the delegates with Clinton, 3-3. That’s why we may not know for a few days the exact number awarded.
A few votes can make a difference, and the outcomes could ride on the absentee ballots. A stunning number have poured into local boards of elections. And Camp Clinton has little doubt most of these ballots are markers for Sanders. Team Bernie organizers have told The Point that part of their campus strategy was to encourage students to request these ballots. (It’s a Working Families Party tactic, too, and the group has been organizing for Bernie.)
In most New York counties, there was a big increase over 2008 in requests for mail-in ballots. And the return tally has been much higher than eight years ago, the last time there was a hotly contested presidential primary. In Nassau County, the board of elections counted 5,208 ballots returned by registered Democrats as of Monday night (midnight Tuesday is the deadline) compared with 4,111 in 2008. The increase is higher among Republican absentees, almost 83 percent – 3,849 ballots returned in Nassau compared with 2,099 in 2008. The delegate selection math is a little different for the GOP and the absentees would make a difference only if they put Gov. John Kaisch or Sen. Ted Cruz over 20 percent in any CD.
In New York City, election officials got back more than 20,000 absentee ballots from both parties as of last week. By then, all five counties already had beaten their 2008 numbers. The same 25 percent increase over 2008 was holding true in more populous counties upstate, Erie (Buffalo), Monroe (Rochester) and Onondaga (Syracuse).
— Rita Ciolli
Turnout in Suffolk
Still not sure whether Donald Trump has energized the Republican Party during this campaign cycle? Just take a look at the turnout in Suffolk County as an example.
By 5 p.m. Tuesday, 20.49 percent of the county’s GOP voters had cast ballots, more than double the 10.16 percent of Republicans who had turned out by 5 p.m. for the John McCain-Mitt Romney battle in 2008. And it dwarfed Romney’s 2012 cakewalk over Ron Paul, when only 6.69 percent of GOP registered voters had cast ballots by day’s end.
On the Democratic side, the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders race was running slightly ahead of the 2008 Clinton-Barack Obama epic that produced record turnout. By 5 p.m., turnout this year was 18.71 percent, topping the 17.77 percent at the same time in 2008.
Given that most of the turnout in Suffolk comes at the end of the day, when commuters and other workers get home, it could be a massive GOP primary turnout this year.
— Michael Dobie