Former president Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday...

Former president Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments. Credit: Pool/Angela Weiss

ALBANY — New Yorkers continue a sharp partisan divide over former President Donald Trump as he faces his first criminal trial in Manhattan, although a few other hot-button issues in a poll released Monday show some common ground.

The Siena College Research Institute poll found 54% of registered voters statewide said the trial over charges that Trump paid hush money to a porn star during his first campaign for president is “a legitimate trial to determine whether Trump is or is not guilty of criminal behavior.” Just 30% said the trial in which Trump is accused of falsifying records to cover up an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels is a “witch hunt.”

But breaking down that finding shows some sharp disagreement.

The poll found 77% of Democrats believe the trial is legitimate, while 66% of Republicans see the trial of their presumptive nominee for president this year as a witch hunt. Among voters not enrolled in a major political party, 44% said the trial was legitimate while  37% called it a witch hunt.

In the suburbs, which includes Long Island, 55% of those polled said the trial is legitimate and 33% said it isn’t.

Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said 60% of New Yorkers polled said they are paying attention to the criminal trial.

The poll showed less of a divide and some general agreement on several active political issues in Washington, D.C., and in Albany. They include:

— By 69% to 24%, New Yorkers support enhancing safeguards for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. Democrats agreed by 80% to 14%; a plurality of Republicans 46% to 40% agreed; and independents were supportive 67% to 27%.

— Sixty-six percent of New Yorkers said they supported requiring high school athletes to compete in sports only under the gender with which they were born, rather than after any sex-change operation. Twenty-seven percent opposed restricting the athletes to their birth gender. A deeper look shows, 52% of Democrats supported restricting the athletes to their birth gender, compared with 27% who opposed it. And 83% of Republicans support the idea, compared with 15% who didn’t. Among independent voters, 77% support restricting high school athletes to competing under their birth gender, compared with 16% who didn’t.

— New Yorkers were divided, 48% to 45%, when asked if parent groups should be allowed to override the decisions of educators on what books should be available to students. However, a partisan divide was also evident: Among Democrats, 62% opposed allowing parent groups that power compared with 33%. But 69% of Republicans said parent groups should have that power compared with 23% who were opposed. Among independent voters, 56% would allow parent groups to have that authority, compared with 35% who opposed it.

— New Yorkers are divided on the issue of paying reparations to descendants of enslaved Black people, which is proposed in Washington and in Albany. The poll found 47% of New York voters supported reparations, compared with 46% who opposed. That’s a statistical tie under the poll’s margin of error. But a political divide was clear: 64% of Democrats supported paying reparations compared with 29% opposed; while 72% of Republicans opposed paying reparations compared with 18% who supported the idea. Fifty-five percent of independent voters opposed reparations compared with 36% who support it.

The poll contacted 806 registered voters April 15 through Wednesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Trump trial deliberations … Low income broadband … New East End shops Credit: Newsday

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