As we all expected, Hillary Clinton’s victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the New York primary was resounding. What was not expected, to me at least, was how the exit polls reveal how the Empire State became a firewall against “the Bern.”
Sanders’s call for a political revolution to create jobs, make the economy work for everyone, not just the one percent, and end the corrupting influence of money on politics should have found fertile ground in New York state. The thousands who rallied with the Vermont senator in Washington Square Park, Prospect Park and Hunter’s Point South Park seemed to be evidence that “the Bern” was spreading in Hillary’s home state.
And then folks voted.LettersYour election reflections2016 election2016 Voters Guide: What to know More coverageOpinion and analysis about the 2016 presidential campaign
According to the exit polls, Sanders won 67 percent of voters age 18 to 29. Clinton won all the others. Sanders eked out a 51 percent to 49 percent win over Clinton for the white vote. But Clinton won 75 percent of the African-American vote and 63 percent of the Hispanic vote. 79 percent of black women supported Clinton. With the exception of the 50-50 split with Sanders of voters who have attended “some college,” Clinton won all education brackets. Those with a high school diploma or less (70 percent), a college degree (53 percent) and postgraduate degrees (56 percent) all went for Clinton.
Now for the unexpected part: Clinton evenly split the votes of those identifying as “liberal.” I thought for sure beforehand that result would have been more lopsided in favor of Sanders. Despite Sanders’ economic message geared toward the 99 percent, Clinton won all income groups. Her highest support (59 percent) was among those voters earning less than $30,000. Although Sanders did win 57 percent of the vote from those who said “income inequality” was the “most important issue,” Clinton won 59 percent of the vote of those who said the economy and jobs were their “most important issue.”
Sanders and his campaign have repeatedly argued he has the best chance to beat Trump in November, yet 65 percent of exit poll respondents said they believe Clinton has the “better chance to defeat Trump,” He spent the last days before the vote raising questions about her qualifications and trustworthiness, yet 60 percent answered “yes” when asked, “Is Hillary Clinton honest and trustworthy?”
In short, Tuesday’s primary results definitively show that New York wasn’t feelin’ the Bern.