ALBANY — New York voters going into the state presidential primaries Tuesday are favoring Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, polls show.
A CBS News poll on Sunday gave Clinton a 53-43 percent lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. Clinton had a 52 percent to 42 percent lead over Sanders in Wednesday’s Siena College Research Institute poll. Thursday’s results in the NBC 4 NY/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll found a margin of 57-40 in favor of Clinton.
But Sanders is extending his lead among voters younger than 35 and is in a statistical dead heat with Clinton upstate, according to the Siena poll.
“The Brooklyn-born Sanders has tightened the race in the last month,” said Siena’s pollster, Steven Greenberg. “The younger voters are feeling ‘The Bern,’ but the question is, ‘Will they come out and vote in large numbers, as older voters historically do?’ ”
That question was answered in other states in recent weeks as Sanders picked up eight wins in nine contests, although Clinton continued to amass a big lead in delegates.
In New York, Clinton is in a position to dampen or stop Sanders’ momentum.
“She does very well in New York City and the suburbs around New York City, which is where most of the vote comes from” in a primary, Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff said. “They pretty much divide upstate, but younger voters prefer Sanders.”
Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, notes, however, that New Yorkers have a history of often favoring the more liberal candidate on the primary ballot, which could help Sanders.
In the Republican primary, Trump has 50 percent of the support of New York Republicans, according to the Siena poll. Ohio Gov. John Kasich had 27 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 17 percent in Siena’s poll.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll last week found Trump had 54 percent of Republicans polled, Kasich won 21 percent and Cruz had 18 percent.
“Trump looks like he will cruise to victory in his home state, as Cruz did in Texas and Kasich did in Ohio,” Greenberg said. “The real question is, ‘Will he get a majority of Republican votes or simply a very high plurality?’ ”
Trump needs a big win in New York to counter the loss this month in Wisconsin to Cruz, but the rules set by New York Republicans won’t make it easy.
Under rules adopted this year, the winner in each congressional district will get three delegates if he hits 50 percent or more. Short of that, the winner will get two delegates and the runner-up will get one delegate. That’s been seen as a way to ensure that Trump, a Manhattan billionaire developer, can’t win all of New York’s delegates.