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Behind the scenes of a new Suffolk poll
Steve Bellone is sending out some results of a poll he commissioned which — surprise, surprise — reveal the Suffolk County executive is very popular.
Global Strategy Group, which conducted the poll of likely voters in late June, finds that the two-term Democratic official gets very high marks from across the political spectrum — a positive rating of 61 percent among Republicans, 62 percent among independents and 69 percent among Democrats.
A summary of the results was given to The Point by Jason Elan, the head of Bellone’s communications team. Elan, who did not provide the actual questions asked or the raw polling data that support the conclusions, said Bellone used campaign funds to pay for the survey. The firm also does polling for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The poll finds that Cuomo leads GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro by 19 points, 55 percent to 36 percent; and that the incumbent Democrat does well with independents (57 percent) and Republicans (34 percent). The poll also finds that gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who is not fond of the state property tax cap, is not doing very well in the ’burbs. Her favorability rating among the 402 general-election likely voters surveyed was 24 percent, while 40 percent rated her unfavorable.
The rosy poll for Democrats also finds that President Donald Trump is slightly underwater in Suffolk, a county he won by single digits in 2016. Trump had a 47 percent favorable rating to 49 percent unfavorable.
Cuomo is running for re-election; so are members of Congress and the New York State Legislature. But Bellone is not up for re-election until next year. Known to be a tightwad about spending campaign funds, why is Bellone splurging for an off-cycle poll?
Obviously, it gives him the ability to tout his political strength and activism in a swing county, which gives him clout with Democrats statewide. Writ large, if Suffolk delivers some State Senate seats for Democrats — he is behind the candidacies of James Gaughran and Louis D’Amaro — and even a congressional seat, Bellone can take the credit.
But don’t overlook the immediate, micro politics as well. Bellone comes across as Suffolk’s Democratic leader, not just an elected official. His message is that he is a political influencer and strategist for the local party, not his archenemy, county party leader Rich Schaffer.
Even for a tightwad, that’s money well spent.
Where to next?
Even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was in Hicksville Tuesday, touting plans for how $10 million in state revitalization money will be spent to help revive the hamlet, 23 other communities across Long Island are waiting — hoping they’ll get the next $10 million.
Hicksville won last year’s downtown initiative grant for the Long Island region — state funds to redevelop the community and create transit-oriented development. Cuomo called the planned transformation of Hicksville a “rebirth.”
Hicksville will use the funds to develop a residential, retail and restaurant complex adjacent to the LIRR station, along with new pedestrian walkways, open space, and better access to the station, a hub for the region.
Last week, contenders for the next $10 million prize were interviewed by a subcommittee of the Regional Economic Development Council, a group headed by Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law and Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz.
The council is expected to make a recommendation to the state on July 13. A decision on the winner is expected by the end of the summer.
Who will win the next big check? Note that both of the region’s previous winners — Westbury and Hicksville — came from Nassau County. That tips the odds in favor of Suffolk.
Randi F. Marshall
From the archive: To Jones Beach they went
If you head to the South Shore beaches for relief from the steamy weather, expect traffic as you head home in the late-afternoon heat. But at least you won’t have to worry about kids on the highway. Literally, on the highway.
That apparently was the situation in 1945, when hitchhiking was a popular way to get to and from Jones Beach.
“Anyone who has driven from any of the popular beaches on week ends can testify that small fry standing in the middle of the concrete, forming a sort of human road block, have constituted a real driving hazard,” Newsday’s editorial board wrote in late June that year. “Apparently operating on the theory that no one but an old meanie would run down a child, they have frequently forced returning cars into opposite lanes of traffic with several near-smashups resulting.”
The reason the board wrote about the practice — which it referred to as “junior thumbing a ride to and from Jones Beach” — was to praise a decision by the Long Island Park Commission to ban hitchhiking on the exit roads.
“Junior will now have to use bike or bus,” the board said.
One more sign of those times: The lack of concern about all those kids apparently traveling alone.