ALBANY — Republican Donald Trump holds a 43-39 percent lead on Long Island over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for president, according to a Newsday/News 12/Siena College survey of Nassau and Suffolk voters.
Trump held a 43-41 percent lead in Nassau County and a 44-37 percent in Suffolk County in a four-way race that also includes Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party, according to the poll.
Johnson received 8 percent Islandwide and Stein 4 percent. Five percent were undecided.
In a two-way matchup, Trump and Clinton were knotted at 44 percent each, indicating that the minor-party candidates were drawing more support from Clinton among likely Long Island voters.
The poll questioned 833 likely voters between Sept. 14-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Even though he holds a slight lead, Trump is viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of Long Island voters; 40 percent view him favorably. Among groups of voters, Trump is viewed favorably by Republicans and conservatives.
Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 57 percent of Long Island voters, with 39 percent viewing her favorably. She is viewed favorably by Democrats, liberals, voters 18-34 years old, and African-American voters, the poll found.
The poll also found that Long Islanders’ frustration goes beyond the presidential race. Sixty-two percent of voters had an unfavorable view of the U.S. Senate, compared with 29 percent who had a favorable view. The House had a 61 percent to 29 percent disapproval rating. The disapproval was consistent between counties and among age, racial, income and education groupings.
In the presidential race, fewer than 1 percent of Long Island voters polled have a favorable view of both candidates, said Siena Research Institute Director Donald P. Levy. Although last week’s Siena statewide poll showed Clinton has a 21 percentage-point lead and she will likely win New York’s electoral votes, the Long Island poll shows serious concerns.
“It shows us that there is frustration, dissatisfaction among votes,” Levy said. “We are going to elect a president with a negative favorability on day one. We are going to elect a president that roughly half of Americans don’t think is trustworthy.”
That makes Monday’s first presidential debate at Hofstra University crucial, said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra.
“After surges by both candidates, especially after their conventions, it is back to being a tight contest,” Levy said of the poll. “And how places like Long Island go in a handful of competitive states will decide whether Clinton or Trump is the next president.”
The narrow margin on Long Island reflects the tight national race. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of national polls has Clinton ahead by 2 percentage points. The Long Island electorate also breaks down along similar voter lines nationally, with more women voting for Clinton and more men voting for Trump.
“It has not been a hard decision for me,” said Barbra Fonti, 52, of Cold Spring Harbor, who works in sales and supports Clinton. “She is a moderate and can reach across the aisle to both parties.”
“Absolutely Mr. Trump,” said Dan Coyne, 65, a home contractor from West Babylon. “He hasn’t been in Washington for 30 years and he’s not an insider. . . . All the politicians, everyone one of them, retires with millions of dollars. . . . Maybe we can get someone who doesn’t need the money.”
Laura Phillips, 52, an art teacher from Seaford, who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders until he lost the Democratic nomination to Clinton, is voting for Stein.
“I’m not wasting a vote, because I am empowering the Green Party and I am voting, which is the most important thing. I would say I have it the right way and those voting for candidates they don’t like have it backward.”
William Sanders, 79, a retiree from Williston Park, is undecided and said he faces a hard decision.
“My first three presidents were Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower,” he said. “They were mature, grown men with international and national experience. . . . They were pretty much no-nonsense guys. In a broad stroke, it’s been downhill ever since. The big issue for me this year is why are these the two that got the nominations?”