56° Good Morning
56° Good Morning

Who’s leading

Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez, seen on June 7.

Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez, seen on June 7.  Credit: Barry Sloan

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Daily Point

An interesting poll

Monica Martinez, a candidate for State Senate who could give Democrats the majority in the chamber, has poll results from an online company called Change Research that show she’s up by 4 percentage points in her race against Dean Murray. But the poll has a margin of error of 5 percent.

The polling, paid for by Eleanor’s Legacy, an organization that supports Democratic female candidates in New York politics, was conducted online via data analytics to create a sample reflective of “the U.S. electorate” by polling 312 voters and then massaging the data to adjust for age, gender, ethnicity and the respondents’ 2016 presidential vote.

The polling shows Martinez, a Suffolk County legislator, leading 47 percent to 43 percent, with support from 62 percent of women. It also says more than half of voters are discontented with the Senate Republican majority; among women, the number is 64 percent. The poll says she can grow her lead over Murray, a member of the State Assembly, if she advocates for increased school spending and stronger gun-safety measures.

A fascinating aspect of the data is the divergence on what men and women in the district care about most. The costs of housing and health care are the top issues for women. For men, it’s taxes and then illegal immigration.

Online methods like Change Research’s are increasingly being used to quickly and inexpensively mine data for smaller races, as well as for larger ones. Internet polls were once dismissed out of hand by political pros, but Change Research has created some very accurate forecasts of races that other polling missed by a mile, earning the company’s results mentions on the political website 538 and in Newsweek.

Still, the facts that the poll was conducted online and that the 3rd Senate District has been won with increasing Republican majorities since 2010 by Lee Zeldin and Tom Croci, lead Republicans to doubt its findings.

“I don’t believe those results for a minute,” said Scott Reif, a spokesman for the GOP Senate majority. “We do our own polling and we do not share it, but it does not show that. Dean Murray is going to win this race because he’s a better fit for the district, and because Monica Martinez’s views are completely out of step with the voters.”

Lane Filler

Quick Points

Faux pas

  • In his address to the UN on Tuesday, President Donald Trump will say he is reserving U.S. foreign aid for countries that share American values. Interesting, since there is disagreement on whether Trump himself shares all of America’s values.
  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said STAR rebate checks were mailed months earlier than usual to property owners in predominantly Democratic voting areas to time the checks to when those owners received school tax bills, not because of the gubernatorial primary on Sept. 13. So it’s just coincidence that they weren’t mailed early last year, when there was no primary?
  • Protesters complaining about the Port Jefferson Free Library’s inaugural Drag Queen Story Hour criticized, among other things, kids being exposed to a man dressing up as a woman. Next up for the protesters: Halloween and the musical “Hairspray.”
  • In relation to the allegation of sexual assault lodged by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, “What am I supposed to do, go and ruin this guy’s life based on such an accusation?” No, what you’re supposed to do is hear Ford’s testimony before you start making statements like that.
  • The Trump administration has proposed denying visas or residency to immigrants here legally if they or family members benefit from Medicaid, SNAP, housing vouchers or other subsidies. No word on what the administration plans to do about U.S. citizens who receive those benefits.
  • Republican strategist Sue Fagen, who worked with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the George W. Bush White House, says she never saw Kavanaugh drink excessively — joining billions of other people who can say the same thing and prove nothing.
  • The Long Island Rail Road’s performance figures declined sharply for August and were well below those for August 2017. Which sheds light on another LIRR faux pas — it dubbed the wrong year the “summer of hell.”
  • Indicted GOP Rep. Chris Collins has a new campaign ad that features Democratic opponent Nate McMurray speaking Korean, apparently to try to convince voters that McMurray is an elitist and globalist who wants to send American jobs overseas. Collins’ second language is much more American — the lingo of insider trading.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point


Bonus Point

Paradise for teachers

File this under the heading “No surprises here.”

The personal-finance website WalletHub has released its analysis of best states for teachers, and New York came out No. 1 by a lot.

New York beat second-place Connecticut by a greater margin than the gap that separated any of the states that followed in the top 10.

New York ranked high in a number of the 22 metrics analyzed by WalletHub:

Second — public school per-pupil spending (to the District of Columbia)

Fourth — lowest teacher turnover

Fourth — income growth potential

Fifth — annual salary adjusted for cost of living

Sixth — 10-year change in teacher salaries

11th — pupil-teacher ratio

Taxpayer advocates, however, might point to a different number in the ranking. Despite all that spending, New York finished 22nd in the quality of its public school system, a rating that includes student performance, funding, safety, class size and teacher credentials.

Michael Dobie