TODAY'S PAPER
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OpinionOpEd

Storm's brewing

Good afternoon. Today’s points:

  • Sen. Schumer stops by
  • Take a closer look at that approval rating, Mayor
  • Gary Johnson sees no need to get out

Daily Point

Chatting with the possible Senate majority leader

Chuck Schumer, who is on pace to win re-election to the U.S. Senate with 70 percent of the vote, stopped by Newsday on Thursday to meet with the editorial board.

As he emphasized the need to add more middle class jobs, Schumer said he’s particularly looking to find ways to grow the pharmaceutical and technology industries — two sectors, he noted, that are very important to Long Island’s economy. He hopes to increase federal research dollars, which in turn would add jobs and grow the industries here, he said.

If only it were that simple. Schumer said Long Island has one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, with particular emphasis on generic drugs, and he highlighted Brookhaven National Laboratory as a possible key to technology sector growth here, too. But what he didn’t mention is that the Island has long had a problem growing its pharma and scientific companies without losing them to states with established biotech and bioscience corridors, or places where it’s far less expensive to grow a business.

Should the U.S. Senate shift to Democratic control after next month’s election, Schumer would presumably control the chamber and have greater clout. Even so, it’s unclear whether he really would be able to squeeze out more federal money for the Island’s scientific and pharmaceutical research efforts, and, if he did, whether that would translate to the development of a truly significant biotech or pharmaceutical industry here.

Federal research dollars alone won’t do that.

Randi F. Marshall and Anne Michaud

Poll Point

Take a closer look de Blasio

A new poll has some good news for Mayor Bill de Blasio: a 40 percent approval rating, up from a low of 35 percent in April.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll released Wednesday finds that 50 percent of registered voters think he deserves to be re-elected in 2017 and that he wins hands down in a hypothetical Democratic primary field of four challengers: Christine Quinn, Scott Stringer, Ruben Diaz Jr. and Hakeem Jeffries.

But look a little closer, and it’s not so rosy. The only head-to-head race the poll investigates is a potential general election between de Blasio and unknown real estate executive Paul Massey. The more important statistic would be how he fares against a single primary challenger such as Jeffries or Stringer.

And the poll finds that more respondents disapprove than approve of de Blasio’s handling of two of the core issues of his first campaign — community-police relations and income inequality.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Hurricane warning

Talking Point

A minor-party candidate is in good spirits

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson isn’t biting at the idea that he could be blamed for throwing the presidential election to Republican nominee Donald Trump, or even that Trump is a demonstrably worse candidate than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a telephone interview with The Point Thursday afternoon, the former New Mexico governor said, “I think Hillary is just as dangerous. She’s the architect of a foreign policy that has not worked out, and she’s likely to leave us with a $50 trillion deficit if she’s elected.”

And Johnson doesn’t necessarily believe he’s pulling more support from Clinton than Trump. If his numbers are correct, he may be right, because Johnson has long said polls show he’s leading the race with military personnel, a cohort Trump has worked hard to woo.

Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, has said he will spend the rest of the campaign working against Trump, whom he believes holds disastrous views on the military, foreign relations and trade. Weld also has said that after the election, he plans to work with former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to rebuild the Republican Party.

But Johnson is still excited about 2016. He says he’s polling at 24 percent in New Mexico, and winning with millennials nationally.

“I don’t understand why people would think I need to get out of the race, that people need fewer choices, when 50 percent of new voters are registering as independents nationally,” Johnson said.

Lane Filler

Columns