Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/steve-romalewski 2019-07-16T22:51:18+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com On Census Preparations, State Lags While City, Advocacy Organizations & Business Community Move Ahead 2018-12-09T05:00:00+00:00 2018-12-09T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8127-on-2020-census-preparations-state-lags-while-city-business-community-advocates Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/nyc_map_via_city_planning.png" alt="nyc map via city planning" width="600" /></p> <p>(image via New York City's City Planning Department)</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>“It might seem early, but given the challenges that are facing the decennial census in 2020, it’s not early enough,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center. Advocates, government officials, and members of the business community all agree with that sentiment, that early preparation is essential if New York is to ensure a full accounting of its population in the 2020 Census, wherein the stakes are immense.</p> <p>The census, the federal government’s constitutionally required every-ten-year count of residents of the United States, forms the basis for each individual state’s electoral representation, both locally and at the federal level, determines levels of federal funding states receive each year, and underpins dozens of human-facing programs carried out by state and local governments. Officials and advocates in New York City have already begun to marshall resources as they prepare for the nearly two-year effort that lays ahead, but the state has yet to pick up its feet despite a looming deadline.</p> <p>Many view 2020 as a particularly challenging year for the Herculean effort of carrying out the census. Besides the usual logistical challenges of reaching hard-to-count communities, 2020 is set to see lower-than-expected funding from the federal government, a shift towards digital methodology, and the inclusion of a citizenship question, though it is the subject of ongoing litigation spearheaded by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. All that comes amid a heightened atmosphere of anxiety among minority and immigrant communities who fear the repercussions of being counted by a federal administration overtly hostile to their interests while already being most likely to be undercounted.</p> <p>In each census, the federal government has to work hand-in-hand with local counterparts to reach hard-to-count communities, those where at least a quarter or more of households do not fill out the initial census questionnaire sent out by the Census Bureau. In New York State, 75.8 percent of households responded to the 2010 census, according to estimates by the CUNY Graduate Center, which worked with civil rights organizations across the country to create <a href="https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=40.69785%2C-73.84798&amp;z=11&amp;layers=counties" target="_blank" rel="noopener">maps of census tracts to identify hard-to-count communities</a>. The rest must then be counted in person by the thousands of enumerators hired by the Census Bureau, a labor- and time-intensive process that includes a lot of door-knocking and also requires additional resources and funding.</p> <p>Advocates and experts warn that the Trump administration’s underfunding of the Census Bureau and attempt to include a question about citizenship may lead to a grossly inaccurate count, the effects of which will be felt for the better part of the decade before the next census in 2030 and could hit New York, especially New York City, particularly hard. An undercount can cement the problems faced by the most vulnerable members of society -- seniors, children, the homeless, for instance -- and exacerbate them by creating a false dataset based on which government crafts policy and budgets.</p> <p>City officials already recognize these challenges that lay ahead. Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phil Thompson is leading the de Blasio administration’s broad census outreach efforts, coordinating with partners in state government, community-based organizations, and the private sector, which is particularly involved in the current census cycle. Thompson pointed to two main outreach targets: immigrant communities and black communities.</p> <p>“In immigrant communities, it’s always a challenge to get a good count in New York City because it is so diverse,” Thompson said in a phone interview. “There are so many immigrant communities, which people may not even hear about sometimes. [The questionnaire is] not in their language. They’re new. They get skipped.”</p> <p>The Census Bureau currently only translates its questionnaire into about 20 languages, he said, and New York City residents speak more than 100. The city has already allocated about $4.3 million to its census efforts in the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2019, which will be used to conduct outreach through ethnic media, Thompson said.</p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/hard_to_count_map_via_cuny_grad_center.png" alt="census hard to count map via cuny grad center" width="350" height="360" style="margin-right: 12px; float: left;" />But the bigger fear among the large undocumented immigrant population that resides in the city is that census answers may be passed on to immigration enforcement authorities, even though that is prohibited under the law. “Now, the law prohibits passing information on from the census to any other agency and individual data is not allowed to be passed on, but folks are scared anyway,” Thompson said.</p> <p><em>[pictured: New York City census&nbsp;<a href="https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=40.69785%2C-73.84798&amp;z=11&amp;layers=counties">hard-to-count map</a>, via CUNY Graduate Center Mapping Service]</em></p> <p>Black communities, the other main target of the city’s efforts, have had historically low rates of filling out the census, Thompson noted. “That goes for people who live in public housing or in low-income housing. Many people may have an extra person living in the house and they’re afraid that the census comes and does a count of who’s in the household, they may get in trouble...And then some mysteries. We don’t know why middle-income and upper-middle income black people in Southeast Queens don’t fill out the census, but historically they’ve had low rates as well.”</p> <p>2020 will also mark a major shift in how the census is carried out, with a greater reliance on digital technology. As opposed to the past method of sending out the questionnaire by mail, the Census Bureau will send out a digital code by mail, encouraging people to fill out the questionnaire on the Census Bureau’s website.</p> <p>When people do not respond, they will be sent a full paper questionnaire to mail back. People can still request a paper questionnaire, particularly if they lack easy access to the internet. “And that’s a challenge because not everybody utilizes iPads and computers,” Thompson said. “Not everyone’s on the internet. So in communities with low broadband access, they are more likely not to fill out the census.”</p> <p>In response, the city plans to set up help desks at public libraries and schools to facilitate access, with several public-facing city agencies such as the Department of Education and Department of Homeless Services also involved in the effort. The de Blasio administration is encouraging the private sector to provide financial assistance to community organizations and will also put more funding into hiring immigration lawyers at immigrant affairs offices. The city will also hire 13 district office directors to match the 13 offices being set up by the Census Bureau across the five boroughs, and is helping recruit for the 20,000 or so enumerators that the Bureau will hire to conduct door-knocking and outreach in hard-to-count communities in the city. According to the Bureau’s estimates, they will need roughly 44,442 enumerators for the entire New York region. There are also jobs under the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program focused on democracy and the census, training young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to organize in their communities.</p> <p>“We’re also telling people if you don’t like what’s going on in terms of a lot of this anti-immigrant rhetoric and so forth, the best thing to do is to not go and hide in the shadows but stand up and be counted,” Thompson said, touching upon the challenge involved in convincing people already wary of the Trump administration to trust that administration’s census process.</p> <p>Community advocates, in particular, are aware of the pressing need to ensure an accurate count. Liz OuYang, coordinator of <a href="https://www.newyorkcounts2020.org">New York Counts 2020</a>, a statewide coalition of community organizations, said the upcoming census would be a “heavy lift” compared to 2010. “More than ever, community-based organizations are going to be needed as trusted organizations that people can go to in light of the political climate,” she said. These groups are particularly vital in reaching undocumented immigrants who are fearful or skeptical of the federal government.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of the 2010 census, community organizations in New York City received only about $2 million in total from private sources, OuYang said, leading to an undercount. This time around, the coalition is pushing the city and state to fund phone-banking and door-knocking operations. They are urging legislators to agree to that demand and plan to rally in Albany, the state capital, in March, ahead of the passage of the state budget.</p> <p>The coalition is also aiding local Complete Count Committees, including by creating a census training webinar for the committee recently launched by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “Because of the undercount in 2010 and because of the macro-political climate that we’re in, and the census being allowed to be completed online, you’re going to need a lot of help from community-based organizations,” OuYang said.</p> <p>The federal government appropriated about $2.8 billion for the Census for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended September 30. But the Census Bureau has <a href="https://www2.census.gov/about/budget/2019-Budget-Infographic-Bureau-Summary.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">requested</a> only about $3.8 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, which most experts and stakeholders believe is inadequate. Across the country there are <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/donald-trump-rigging-2020-census-undercounting-minorities-1/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expected</a> to be 200,000 fewer enumerators, who conduct the on-the-ground follow up, because of the lower funding. What’s more, unlike past census efforts, the federal government appears <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/non-citizens-wont-be-hired-as-census-takers-in-2020-staff-is-told/2018/01/30/b327c8d8-05ee-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html?utm_term=.fc44df933ef7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">unlikely</a> to approve a waiver that would allow the Commerce Department to hire non-citizens to act as census enumerators in order to reach hard-to-reach communities. Such a waiver was approved by the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.</p> <p>“We don’t know if Trump will do a waiver and if not that’s a problem,” said Deputy Mayor Thompson. “So we’ll have to lean in as a city to get the right people because the most trusted messengers in communities that are fearful are people from the communities.”</p> <p>In an email, Census Bureau spokesperson Kristina Barrett said the agency was working within the restrictions of the annual appropriations act. “There is not a ban, and we are still pursuing all legal flexibilities provided by Congress to hire the workforce we will need to conduct an accurate 2020 Census,” she wrote. She said the Bureau is allowed to temporarily employ translators under certain exceptions and can hire permanent legal residents applying for U.S. citizenship, people admitted as refugees or granted asylum who have filed a declaration of intent to become a permanent resident and then a citizen when eligible.</p> <p>To make up for the expected shortfall in enumerators, particularly in undocumented communities, the New York Counts coalition is pushing the state government to ensure adequate funding for counting efforts. A study from the Fiscal Policy Institute, commissioned by the coalition, estimated that need at about $40 million, roughly $2 for each of New York’s 19 million residents. But so far, the state has made no commitment while the city’s $4.3 million is something, but far from adequate. (The city is expected to add more funding in the next fiscal year which begins July 1, 2019.)&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“Without funding, community-based organizations are not, that’s the bottom line, are not gonna be able to do full outreach,” OuYang said. “And it takes community-based organizations, trusted organizations in the community to really mobilize people and be the bridge here.”</p> <p>In the current fiscal year, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature approved the creation of a New York State Complete Count Commission, which is meant to study past undercounts and issue a comprehensive action plan for 2020 by January 10, 2019. But with just over a month till its report is due, that commission has yet to be formed, raising concerns that the state is dragging its feet. “I think that the governor needs to prioritize this, this is huge,” OuYang said.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Cuomo said in an email that the commission is in the final stages of being assembled but did not provide any personnel details or proposed budget numbers. “A complete and accurate count is critical for New York to receive proper representation in Washington and our full allocation of federal funding, and the State is committed to being a full partner in a robust outreach effort so that every New Yorker is counted,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>The state has, however, been using data analytics to ensure that the Census Bureau’s Master Address File, which will dictate where the initial census questionnaires are sent in March 2020, is complete. According to the governor’s office, addresses in the MAF were compared to state databases and agency records and hundreds of thousands of corrections and additions were submitted to the Census Bureau for review this past summer. There have also been 40 meetings across the state to encourage the creation of complete count committees.</p> <p>It’s likely that the governor will provide more clarity about the overall census effort in January at his State of the State speech, where he will lay out his broader agenda for the year. His executive budget proposal with funding numbers will follow soon after.</p> <p>Thompson, the deputy mayor, said he was optimistic about the state coming through and that operations will likely ramp up with the start of the new year. In the meantime, New York City government and members of the business community are picking up the slack.</p> <p>“So far New York State hasn’t put up a [funding] number and we were actually helping other towns and cities in New York organize their census operations because the state commission on the census hasn’t met yet,” Thompson said. “We’ve had nice conversations and I’m looking forward to working with the state around this, but right now we’re, I think it’s safe to say, ahead of the state.”</p> <p>He noted that the New York Banker’s Association had offered to make its locations available to get the word out about the census. “I’m most excited about the responses we’re getting from every sector of the city to come together,” Thompson said. “The business community is very forthcoming.”</p> <p>The Association for a Better New York, a prominent business coalition in the city, announced on December 3 that it had hired Melva Miller, who was previously deputy borough president of Queens, to lead its census efforts, the broad contours of which had been announced previously. “This is an all hands on deck effort,” Miller said in a phone interview.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>ABNY has been marshalling resources for nearly a year to assist New York’s efforts. It has been conducting focus groups in hard-to-count communities, gathering data and information on the obstacles people may face. It also launched a poll last week in those communities “to get an understanding of the census and what that means for them.”</p> <p>The organization will also pull together a larger messaging campaign, also targeted at particular communities, to urge people to fill out the census on their own, “because unless you can really spell out what the implications of an undercount means to folks, people aren’t excited about it,” Miller said. “No one wants to fill out a form...How can you make it sexy? How can you make it exciting so that people know that this is really critical to the health and the quality of life for all of us, especially New Yorkers?”</p> <p>Miller noted that the implications of an undercount go beyond federal funding -- New York receives about $80 billion each year -- and a potential loss of representation in Congress.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/agenda19v2-a.jpg" alt="Gotham Gazette: " width="261" height="131" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></a>“There’s voting rights and redistricting implications, there’s public and private research on social and economic issues, and something that folks don’t talk about that probably resonates with the private sector is that having reliable and good data dictates how businesses do business,” she said. “So as companies are doing their needs assessments and assessments of areas in which they might want to relocate or expand, they rely on data that talks about the population. Who lives there, what’s their education level. And then in terms of workforce. People love coming and operating in New York because of our talented and diverse workforce. And quite frankly, we’ve benefitted from programs that assist and support that workforce. And all of that is at stake when you undercount a population like New York.”</p> <p>Besides the decennial count, the Census Bureau also does the annual American Community Survey, which delves deeper into subsets of census data and then extrapolates that information to make assumptions about the larger population. “It really has a ripple effect,” said Romalewski of the CUNY Graduate Center, one of the area’s top census experts. “If the count is not done well in 2020, that will have an ongoing impact throughout the decade.”</p> <p>He did note that there was at least one upside to all the challenges posed by the Trump administration, echoing what has been something of a theme on a variety of political and policy matters. “The silver lining in all of this is that there’s a concerted, coordinated effort early on to make sure people understand the importance of the census and that they participate fully,” he said.</p> <p>The biggest “what if” factor in the entire census process is the legal battle over the inclusion of the citizenship question. The Justice Department is facing off in federal courts across the country against a broad array of plaintiffs including dozens of states and cities, including New York, immigrant advocacy groups, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both sides issued closing arguments in late November in a trial in federal court in Manhattan -- other trials are on the horizon in other states -- and a judge is <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-over-census-citizenship-question-now-in-judges-hands-1543357904">expected</a> to issue a decision within weeks. The U.S. Supreme Court also <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/16/supreme-court-will-hear-census-case-setting-up-showdown-over-citizenship-question.html">agreed</a> last month to hear arguments over whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be deposed over how the decision to include the citizenship question was made.</p> <p>“The thing I worry about the most is the fear tactics succeeding,” said Deputy Mayor Thompson. But he was undeterred even by the prospect that the highest court in the land could rule against the cities and states seeking to protect undocumented immigrants by ensuring they are counted. He likened it to the country’s history of racial segregation and slavery, which were held up for decades by courts and a Congress that maintained both were legal.</p> <p>“So just having a Supreme Court go against you doesn’t mean you give up,” he said. “What changed segregation was actually when churches, ordinary Americans said enough is enough. And we have to have that attitude now. We’ll fight back...We have a history of fighting for our democracy. It wasn’t given to anybody, we got it through struggle and we might have to struggle again.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/nyc_map_via_city_planning.png" alt="nyc map via city planning" width="600" /></p> <p>(image via New York City's City Planning Department)</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>“It might seem early, but given the challenges that are facing the decennial census in 2020, it’s not early enough,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center. Advocates, government officials, and members of the business community all agree with that sentiment, that early preparation is essential if New York is to ensure a full accounting of its population in the 2020 Census, wherein the stakes are immense.</p> <p>The census, the federal government’s constitutionally required every-ten-year count of residents of the United States, forms the basis for each individual state’s electoral representation, both locally and at the federal level, determines levels of federal funding states receive each year, and underpins dozens of human-facing programs carried out by state and local governments. Officials and advocates in New York City have already begun to marshall resources as they prepare for the nearly two-year effort that lays ahead, but the state has yet to pick up its feet despite a looming deadline.</p> <p>Many view 2020 as a particularly challenging year for the Herculean effort of carrying out the census. Besides the usual logistical challenges of reaching hard-to-count communities, 2020 is set to see lower-than-expected funding from the federal government, a shift towards digital methodology, and the inclusion of a citizenship question, though it is the subject of ongoing litigation spearheaded by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. All that comes amid a heightened atmosphere of anxiety among minority and immigrant communities who fear the repercussions of being counted by a federal administration overtly hostile to their interests while already being most likely to be undercounted.</p> <p>In each census, the federal government has to work hand-in-hand with local counterparts to reach hard-to-count communities, those where at least a quarter or more of households do not fill out the initial census questionnaire sent out by the Census Bureau. In New York State, 75.8 percent of households responded to the 2010 census, according to estimates by the CUNY Graduate Center, which worked with civil rights organizations across the country to create <a href="https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=40.69785%2C-73.84798&amp;z=11&amp;layers=counties" target="_blank" rel="noopener">maps of census tracts to identify hard-to-count communities</a>. The rest must then be counted in person by the thousands of enumerators hired by the Census Bureau, a labor- and time-intensive process that includes a lot of door-knocking and also requires additional resources and funding.</p> <p>Advocates and experts warn that the Trump administration’s underfunding of the Census Bureau and attempt to include a question about citizenship may lead to a grossly inaccurate count, the effects of which will be felt for the better part of the decade before the next census in 2030 and could hit New York, especially New York City, particularly hard. An undercount can cement the problems faced by the most vulnerable members of society -- seniors, children, the homeless, for instance -- and exacerbate them by creating a false dataset based on which government crafts policy and budgets.</p> <p>City officials already recognize these challenges that lay ahead. Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phil Thompson is leading the de Blasio administration’s broad census outreach efforts, coordinating with partners in state government, community-based organizations, and the private sector, which is particularly involved in the current census cycle. Thompson pointed to two main outreach targets: immigrant communities and black communities.</p> <p>“In immigrant communities, it’s always a challenge to get a good count in New York City because it is so diverse,” Thompson said in a phone interview. “There are so many immigrant communities, which people may not even hear about sometimes. [The questionnaire is] not in their language. They’re new. They get skipped.”</p> <p>The Census Bureau currently only translates its questionnaire into about 20 languages, he said, and New York City residents speak more than 100. The city has already allocated about $4.3 million to its census efforts in the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2019, which will be used to conduct outreach through ethnic media, Thompson said.</p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/hard_to_count_map_via_cuny_grad_center.png" alt="census hard to count map via cuny grad center" width="350" height="360" style="margin-right: 12px; float: left;" />But the bigger fear among the large undocumented immigrant population that resides in the city is that census answers may be passed on to immigration enforcement authorities, even though that is prohibited under the law. “Now, the law prohibits passing information on from the census to any other agency and individual data is not allowed to be passed on, but folks are scared anyway,” Thompson said.</p> <p><em>[pictured: New York City census&nbsp;<a href="https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=40.69785%2C-73.84798&amp;z=11&amp;layers=counties">hard-to-count map</a>, via CUNY Graduate Center Mapping Service]</em></p> <p>Black communities, the other main target of the city’s efforts, have had historically low rates of filling out the census, Thompson noted. “That goes for people who live in public housing or in low-income housing. Many people may have an extra person living in the house and they’re afraid that the census comes and does a count of who’s in the household, they may get in trouble...And then some mysteries. We don’t know why middle-income and upper-middle income black people in Southeast Queens don’t fill out the census, but historically they’ve had low rates as well.”</p> <p>2020 will also mark a major shift in how the census is carried out, with a greater reliance on digital technology. As opposed to the past method of sending out the questionnaire by mail, the Census Bureau will send out a digital code by mail, encouraging people to fill out the questionnaire on the Census Bureau’s website.</p> <p>When people do not respond, they will be sent a full paper questionnaire to mail back. People can still request a paper questionnaire, particularly if they lack easy access to the internet. “And that’s a challenge because not everybody utilizes iPads and computers,” Thompson said. “Not everyone’s on the internet. So in communities with low broadband access, they are more likely not to fill out the census.”</p> <p>In response, the city plans to set up help desks at public libraries and schools to facilitate access, with several public-facing city agencies such as the Department of Education and Department of Homeless Services also involved in the effort. The de Blasio administration is encouraging the private sector to provide financial assistance to community organizations and will also put more funding into hiring immigration lawyers at immigrant affairs offices. The city will also hire 13 district office directors to match the 13 offices being set up by the Census Bureau across the five boroughs, and is helping recruit for the 20,000 or so enumerators that the Bureau will hire to conduct door-knocking and outreach in hard-to-count communities in the city. According to the Bureau’s estimates, they will need roughly 44,442 enumerators for the entire New York region. There are also jobs under the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program focused on democracy and the census, training young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to organize in their communities.</p> <p>“We’re also telling people if you don’t like what’s going on in terms of a lot of this anti-immigrant rhetoric and so forth, the best thing to do is to not go and hide in the shadows but stand up and be counted,” Thompson said, touching upon the challenge involved in convincing people already wary of the Trump administration to trust that administration’s census process.</p> <p>Community advocates, in particular, are aware of the pressing need to ensure an accurate count. Liz OuYang, coordinator of <a href="https://www.newyorkcounts2020.org">New York Counts 2020</a>, a statewide coalition of community organizations, said the upcoming census would be a “heavy lift” compared to 2010. “More than ever, community-based organizations are going to be needed as trusted organizations that people can go to in light of the political climate,” she said. These groups are particularly vital in reaching undocumented immigrants who are fearful or skeptical of the federal government.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of the 2010 census, community organizations in New York City received only about $2 million in total from private sources, OuYang said, leading to an undercount. This time around, the coalition is pushing the city and state to fund phone-banking and door-knocking operations. They are urging legislators to agree to that demand and plan to rally in Albany, the state capital, in March, ahead of the passage of the state budget.</p> <p>The coalition is also aiding local Complete Count Committees, including by creating a census training webinar for the committee recently launched by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “Because of the undercount in 2010 and because of the macro-political climate that we’re in, and the census being allowed to be completed online, you’re going to need a lot of help from community-based organizations,” OuYang said.</p> <p>The federal government appropriated about $2.8 billion for the Census for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended September 30. But the Census Bureau has <a href="https://www2.census.gov/about/budget/2019-Budget-Infographic-Bureau-Summary.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">requested</a> only about $3.8 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, which most experts and stakeholders believe is inadequate. Across the country there are <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/donald-trump-rigging-2020-census-undercounting-minorities-1/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expected</a> to be 200,000 fewer enumerators, who conduct the on-the-ground follow up, because of the lower funding. What’s more, unlike past census efforts, the federal government appears <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/non-citizens-wont-be-hired-as-census-takers-in-2020-staff-is-told/2018/01/30/b327c8d8-05ee-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html?utm_term=.fc44df933ef7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">unlikely</a> to approve a waiver that would allow the Commerce Department to hire non-citizens to act as census enumerators in order to reach hard-to-reach communities. Such a waiver was approved by the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.</p> <p>“We don’t know if Trump will do a waiver and if not that’s a problem,” said Deputy Mayor Thompson. “So we’ll have to lean in as a city to get the right people because the most trusted messengers in communities that are fearful are people from the communities.”</p> <p>In an email, Census Bureau spokesperson Kristina Barrett said the agency was working within the restrictions of the annual appropriations act. “There is not a ban, and we are still pursuing all legal flexibilities provided by Congress to hire the workforce we will need to conduct an accurate 2020 Census,” she wrote. She said the Bureau is allowed to temporarily employ translators under certain exceptions and can hire permanent legal residents applying for U.S. citizenship, people admitted as refugees or granted asylum who have filed a declaration of intent to become a permanent resident and then a citizen when eligible.</p> <p>To make up for the expected shortfall in enumerators, particularly in undocumented communities, the New York Counts coalition is pushing the state government to ensure adequate funding for counting efforts. A study from the Fiscal Policy Institute, commissioned by the coalition, estimated that need at about $40 million, roughly $2 for each of New York’s 19 million residents. But so far, the state has made no commitment while the city’s $4.3 million is something, but far from adequate. (The city is expected to add more funding in the next fiscal year which begins July 1, 2019.)&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“Without funding, community-based organizations are not, that’s the bottom line, are not gonna be able to do full outreach,” OuYang said. “And it takes community-based organizations, trusted organizations in the community to really mobilize people and be the bridge here.”</p> <p>In the current fiscal year, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature approved the creation of a New York State Complete Count Commission, which is meant to study past undercounts and issue a comprehensive action plan for 2020 by January 10, 2019. But with just over a month till its report is due, that commission has yet to be formed, raising concerns that the state is dragging its feet. “I think that the governor needs to prioritize this, this is huge,” OuYang said.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Cuomo said in an email that the commission is in the final stages of being assembled but did not provide any personnel details or proposed budget numbers. “A complete and accurate count is critical for New York to receive proper representation in Washington and our full allocation of federal funding, and the State is committed to being a full partner in a robust outreach effort so that every New Yorker is counted,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>The state has, however, been using data analytics to ensure that the Census Bureau’s Master Address File, which will dictate where the initial census questionnaires are sent in March 2020, is complete. According to the governor’s office, addresses in the MAF were compared to state databases and agency records and hundreds of thousands of corrections and additions were submitted to the Census Bureau for review this past summer. There have also been 40 meetings across the state to encourage the creation of complete count committees.</p> <p>It’s likely that the governor will provide more clarity about the overall census effort in January at his State of the State speech, where he will lay out his broader agenda for the year. His executive budget proposal with funding numbers will follow soon after.</p> <p>Thompson, the deputy mayor, said he was optimistic about the state coming through and that operations will likely ramp up with the start of the new year. In the meantime, New York City government and members of the business community are picking up the slack.</p> <p>“So far New York State hasn’t put up a [funding] number and we were actually helping other towns and cities in New York organize their census operations because the state commission on the census hasn’t met yet,” Thompson said. “We’ve had nice conversations and I’m looking forward to working with the state around this, but right now we’re, I think it’s safe to say, ahead of the state.”</p> <p>He noted that the New York Banker’s Association had offered to make its locations available to get the word out about the census. “I’m most excited about the responses we’re getting from every sector of the city to come together,” Thompson said. “The business community is very forthcoming.”</p> <p>The Association for a Better New York, a prominent business coalition in the city, announced on December 3 that it had hired Melva Miller, who was previously deputy borough president of Queens, to lead its census efforts, the broad contours of which had been announced previously. “This is an all hands on deck effort,” Miller said in a phone interview.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>ABNY has been marshalling resources for nearly a year to assist New York’s efforts. It has been conducting focus groups in hard-to-count communities, gathering data and information on the obstacles people may face. It also launched a poll last week in those communities “to get an understanding of the census and what that means for them.”</p> <p>The organization will also pull together a larger messaging campaign, also targeted at particular communities, to urge people to fill out the census on their own, “because unless you can really spell out what the implications of an undercount means to folks, people aren’t excited about it,” Miller said. “No one wants to fill out a form...How can you make it sexy? How can you make it exciting so that people know that this is really critical to the health and the quality of life for all of us, especially New Yorkers?”</p> <p>Miller noted that the implications of an undercount go beyond federal funding -- New York receives about $80 billion each year -- and a potential loss of representation in Congress.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/agenda19v2-a.jpg" alt="Gotham Gazette: " width="261" height="131" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></a>“There’s voting rights and redistricting implications, there’s public and private research on social and economic issues, and something that folks don’t talk about that probably resonates with the private sector is that having reliable and good data dictates how businesses do business,” she said. “So as companies are doing their needs assessments and assessments of areas in which they might want to relocate or expand, they rely on data that talks about the population. Who lives there, what’s their education level. And then in terms of workforce. People love coming and operating in New York because of our talented and diverse workforce. And quite frankly, we’ve benefitted from programs that assist and support that workforce. And all of that is at stake when you undercount a population like New York.”</p> <p>Besides the decennial count, the Census Bureau also does the annual American Community Survey, which delves deeper into subsets of census data and then extrapolates that information to make assumptions about the larger population. “It really has a ripple effect,” said Romalewski of the CUNY Graduate Center, one of the area’s top census experts. “If the count is not done well in 2020, that will have an ongoing impact throughout the decade.”</p> <p>He did note that there was at least one upside to all the challenges posed by the Trump administration, echoing what has been something of a theme on a variety of political and policy matters. “The silver lining in all of this is that there’s a concerted, coordinated effort early on to make sure people understand the importance of the census and that they participate fully,” he said.</p> <p>The biggest “what if” factor in the entire census process is the legal battle over the inclusion of the citizenship question. The Justice Department is facing off in federal courts across the country against a broad array of plaintiffs including dozens of states and cities, including New York, immigrant advocacy groups, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both sides issued closing arguments in late November in a trial in federal court in Manhattan -- other trials are on the horizon in other states -- and a judge is <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-over-census-citizenship-question-now-in-judges-hands-1543357904">expected</a> to issue a decision within weeks. The U.S. Supreme Court also <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/16/supreme-court-will-hear-census-case-setting-up-showdown-over-citizenship-question.html">agreed</a> last month to hear arguments over whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be deposed over how the decision to include the citizenship question was made.</p> <p>“The thing I worry about the most is the fear tactics succeeding,” said Deputy Mayor Thompson. But he was undeterred even by the prospect that the highest court in the land could rule against the cities and states seeking to protect undocumented immigrants by ensuring they are counted. He likened it to the country’s history of racial segregation and slavery, which were held up for decades by courts and a Congress that maintained both were legal.</p> <p>“So just having a Supreme Court go against you doesn’t mean you give up,” he said. “What changed segregation was actually when churches, ordinary Americans said enough is enough. And we have to have that attitude now. We’ll fight back...We have a history of fighting for our democracy. It wasn’t given to anybody, we got it through struggle and we might have to struggle again.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
A Closer Look at Voter Turnout in 2018 New York Congressional Primaries 2018-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 2018-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7774-a-closer-look-at-voter-turnout-in-2018-new-york-congressional-primaries Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/joe_crowley_voting.jpg" alt="joe crowley voting" width="600" height="432" /></p> <p>Rep. Joe Crowley votes (photo: @JoeCrowleyNY)</p> <hr /> <p>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary defeat of Representative Joe Crowley has sent shockwaves through both the New York and national political worlds.</p> <p>The 28-year-old Latina democratic-socialist who has never held elected office and refused money from corporate PACs stood in stark contrast to Crowley, a 56-year-old, ten-term Congressional representative who was a prolific Democratic Party fundraiser, served as the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, and was seen by some as the next Democratic Speaker of the House.</p> <p>Ocasio-Cortez’s win is being partly attributed to her campaign’s organizing, strong ground game, and significant social media presence, as well as its embrace of progressive policies such as ICE abolition and single-payer healthcare. She didn’t merely upset Crowley, she won handily, by a margin of 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent.</p> <p>Maps compiled by the CUNY Center for Urban Research show that support in the election that has the country buzzing did not break down neatly on racial lines; in fact, Ocasio-Cortez maintained strong support throughout the district, across areas of various demographic makeups.</p> <p>“This wasn’t a fluke,” said Steven Romalewski, of the Center for Urban Research. “She was able to get voters from almost every neighborhood to come out and support her.” Romalewski noted that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of voting on racial lines, the areas where Ocasio-Cortez’s showing was strongest were areas that weren’t predominantly Hispanic, signaling that her showing may not have been due to the district’s changing demographics (it has been steadily becoming less white for years), but due to desire for change from Crowley.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/ny14_primary_2018_electionnightdraft.png" alt="ny14 primary 2018 electionnightdraft" width="500" style="display: block; margin: 3px auto;" /></p> <p>Though Ocasio-Cortez whipped up energy among voters in the Queens and Bronx district, and there is little to compare voter turnout to because Crowley had not been challenged since 2004, the primary election was decided, like most elections in New York, by a relatively small number of people.</p> <p>With 98 percent of precincts reporting as of Wednesday, the State Board of Elections shows 27,826 registered Democrats cast votes in Tuesday’s primary in New York’s 14th District. With 235,745 registered Democrats as of April, according to the BOE, this comes out to a turnout of around 11.8 percent.</p> <p>This turnout is about the same as in Crowley’s last competitive primary, in 2004. According to the Federal Election Commission, 12.4 percent of Democrats in Crowley’s district voted that year, which was a presidential election year, unlike this year, and saw congressional and state-level primaries on the same September day. New York has since moved its congressional primaries to June.</p> <p>For comparison, when Crowley was reelected to Congress two years ago, in 2016, he faced no primary opponent and nominal competition in the general election, but in the general he received 147,567 votes as many more voters turned out on Election Day than typically do for party primaries, even when they are competitive. Ocasio-Cortez will herself now face Republican Anthony Pappas and Conservative Elizabeth Perri in the general election, but is expected to win easily.</p> <p>Regardless of the low primary turnout, Romalewski characterized Ocasio-Cortez’s win in the same way as most other observers: a massive upset.</p> <p>“The challenger was able to do something with her supporters that the incumbent wasn’t,” Romalewski said. “And that’s surprising given that the incumbent has the power of incumbency, has the power of the party machine behind him, and has the power of endorsements, and long time political support in both counties, Queens and the Bronx, and that was not enough to hold off the challenger. So that’s a big upset.”</p> <p>Turnout on Tuesday was similarly low in other closely-watched congressional primaries. In the 9th District, in Brooklyn, where Representative Yvette Clarke narrowly beat New York Times-endorsed Adem Bunkeddeko 52 to 48 percent, Democratic turnout is only at about 8.2 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the BOE. 28,663 Democrats voted out of 347,466 total in the district.</p> <p>In the 12th District, including parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where Representative Carolyn Maloney dispatched challenger Suraj Patel 58 to 41 percent, Democratic turnout stands at about 13.6 percent with 99 percent reporting. 41,460 Democrats voted out of 304,115 total in the district.</p> <p>Turnout was slightly higher in the Republican primary in the 11th District, covering Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn, where incumbent Representative Dan Donovan was seemingly running a tight race with his predecessor Michael Grimm, only for Donovan to handily beat Grimm, 63 to 36 percent. That primary, featuring a rare such primary battle of the two most recent officeholders and an apparently race-altering endorsement of Donovan by President Donald Trump, saw a turnout of 17 percent of registered Republicans -- 20,118 Republicans voted out of 117,983 registered in the district.</p> <p>Romalewski said that the high profile nature of the race played a part in the higher turnout. “Not only was it a high profile race, but there was an incumbent and a former incumbent running for the primary vote,” he said. “So there was a lot of institutional support on both sides, and a lot of interest on both sides, and a lot of familiarity with the voters, so it’s not surprising that there was relatively robust turnout in District 11.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/ny11_primary_2018_electionnightdraft.png" alt="ny11 primary 2018 electionnightdraft" width="500" style="display: block; margin: 3px auto;" /></p> <p>Similarly to Ocasio-Cortez’s convincing win District 14, Romalewski noted that Donovan’s strong support was widespread across the district rather than being concentrated in pockets. He won the overwhelming majority of election districts, and beat Grimm by significant margins in both the Staten Island and Brooklyn sections of the district.</p> <p>In the crowded Democratic primary in District 11, Max Rose defeated five other Democratic hopefuls with 63 percent of the vote. That primary saw a turnout of 8.5 percent -- 17,098 Democrats voted out of 200,410 total registered in the district. The Donovan-Rose general election is expected to draw a lot of interest, and money, from around the state and country, as Democrats see it as a possible pick-up toward flipping the House.</p> <p>In Maloney’s last noteworthy primary challenge, from Reshma Saujani in 2010, turnout stood at 16.4 percent. The last competitive primary in the district represented by Donovan was in 2010, when it was the 13th District and Grimm defeated Michael Allegretti in an election with 13.7 percent turnout. Both of these primaries occurred before a 2012 federal court decision that led New York to become the only state this year with separate federal and state primary days, wherein the state was forced to move its congressional primary earlier in the year and lawmakers declined to also move the state-level vote. The separate days can depress turnout, says Romalewski.</p> <p>“In recent years, there’s been as many as four elections within a year, primaries and generals, that people have to turn out for,” he said. In 2016, New York voters turned out for presidential primaries in April, congressional primaries in June, state and local primaries in September, and finally the general election in November. “It definitely risks voter burnout, the opposite of turnout.”</p> <p>Clarke’s last primary challenge, in 2012, saw a 6.2 percent turnout. Maloney faced a challenge in 2016 from attorney Peter Lindner, in a race that saw a 6.7 percent turnout.</p> <p>Turnout was similarly low elsewhere in the city and state. In the 5th District, where Representative Gregory Meeks won 81 percent of the vote against two challengers, Mizan Choudhury and Carl Achille, saw a 3.8 percent turnout. In the 16th District, Eliot Engel dispatched three challengers -- Jonathan Lewis, Derickson Lawrence, and Joyce Briscoe -- with 74 percent of the vote in an election with 9.8 percent turnout.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/joe_crowley_voting.jpg" alt="joe crowley voting" width="600" height="432" /></p> <p>Rep. Joe Crowley votes (photo: @JoeCrowleyNY)</p> <hr /> <p>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary defeat of Representative Joe Crowley has sent shockwaves through both the New York and national political worlds.</p> <p>The 28-year-old Latina democratic-socialist who has never held elected office and refused money from corporate PACs stood in stark contrast to Crowley, a 56-year-old, ten-term Congressional representative who was a prolific Democratic Party fundraiser, served as the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, and was seen by some as the next Democratic Speaker of the House.</p> <p>Ocasio-Cortez’s win is being partly attributed to her campaign’s organizing, strong ground game, and significant social media presence, as well as its embrace of progressive policies such as ICE abolition and single-payer healthcare. She didn’t merely upset Crowley, she won handily, by a margin of 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent.</p> <p>Maps compiled by the CUNY Center for Urban Research show that support in the election that has the country buzzing did not break down neatly on racial lines; in fact, Ocasio-Cortez maintained strong support throughout the district, across areas of various demographic makeups.</p> <p>“This wasn’t a fluke,” said Steven Romalewski, of the Center for Urban Research. “She was able to get voters from almost every neighborhood to come out and support her.” Romalewski noted that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of voting on racial lines, the areas where Ocasio-Cortez’s showing was strongest were areas that weren’t predominantly Hispanic, signaling that her showing may not have been due to the district’s changing demographics (it has been steadily becoming less white for years), but due to desire for change from Crowley.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/ny14_primary_2018_electionnightdraft.png" alt="ny14 primary 2018 electionnightdraft" width="500" style="display: block; margin: 3px auto;" /></p> <p>Though Ocasio-Cortez whipped up energy among voters in the Queens and Bronx district, and there is little to compare voter turnout to because Crowley had not been challenged since 2004, the primary election was decided, like most elections in New York, by a relatively small number of people.</p> <p>With 98 percent of precincts reporting as of Wednesday, the State Board of Elections shows 27,826 registered Democrats cast votes in Tuesday’s primary in New York’s 14th District. With 235,745 registered Democrats as of April, according to the BOE, this comes out to a turnout of around 11.8 percent.</p> <p>This turnout is about the same as in Crowley’s last competitive primary, in 2004. According to the Federal Election Commission, 12.4 percent of Democrats in Crowley’s district voted that year, which was a presidential election year, unlike this year, and saw congressional and state-level primaries on the same September day. New York has since moved its congressional primaries to June.</p> <p>For comparison, when Crowley was reelected to Congress two years ago, in 2016, he faced no primary opponent and nominal competition in the general election, but in the general he received 147,567 votes as many more voters turned out on Election Day than typically do for party primaries, even when they are competitive. Ocasio-Cortez will herself now face Republican Anthony Pappas and Conservative Elizabeth Perri in the general election, but is expected to win easily.</p> <p>Regardless of the low primary turnout, Romalewski characterized Ocasio-Cortez’s win in the same way as most other observers: a massive upset.</p> <p>“The challenger was able to do something with her supporters that the incumbent wasn’t,” Romalewski said. “And that’s surprising given that the incumbent has the power of incumbency, has the power of the party machine behind him, and has the power of endorsements, and long time political support in both counties, Queens and the Bronx, and that was not enough to hold off the challenger. So that’s a big upset.”</p> <p>Turnout on Tuesday was similarly low in other closely-watched congressional primaries. In the 9th District, in Brooklyn, where Representative Yvette Clarke narrowly beat New York Times-endorsed Adem Bunkeddeko 52 to 48 percent, Democratic turnout is only at about 8.2 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the BOE. 28,663 Democrats voted out of 347,466 total in the district.</p> <p>In the 12th District, including parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where Representative Carolyn Maloney dispatched challenger Suraj Patel 58 to 41 percent, Democratic turnout stands at about 13.6 percent with 99 percent reporting. 41,460 Democrats voted out of 304,115 total in the district.</p> <p>Turnout was slightly higher in the Republican primary in the 11th District, covering Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn, where incumbent Representative Dan Donovan was seemingly running a tight race with his predecessor Michael Grimm, only for Donovan to handily beat Grimm, 63 to 36 percent. That primary, featuring a rare such primary battle of the two most recent officeholders and an apparently race-altering endorsement of Donovan by President Donald Trump, saw a turnout of 17 percent of registered Republicans -- 20,118 Republicans voted out of 117,983 registered in the district.</p> <p>Romalewski said that the high profile nature of the race played a part in the higher turnout. “Not only was it a high profile race, but there was an incumbent and a former incumbent running for the primary vote,” he said. “So there was a lot of institutional support on both sides, and a lot of interest on both sides, and a lot of familiarity with the voters, so it’s not surprising that there was relatively robust turnout in District 11.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/ny11_primary_2018_electionnightdraft.png" alt="ny11 primary 2018 electionnightdraft" width="500" style="display: block; margin: 3px auto;" /></p> <p>Similarly to Ocasio-Cortez’s convincing win District 14, Romalewski noted that Donovan’s strong support was widespread across the district rather than being concentrated in pockets. He won the overwhelming majority of election districts, and beat Grimm by significant margins in both the Staten Island and Brooklyn sections of the district.</p> <p>In the crowded Democratic primary in District 11, Max Rose defeated five other Democratic hopefuls with 63 percent of the vote. That primary saw a turnout of 8.5 percent -- 17,098 Democrats voted out of 200,410 total registered in the district. The Donovan-Rose general election is expected to draw a lot of interest, and money, from around the state and country, as Democrats see it as a possible pick-up toward flipping the House.</p> <p>In Maloney’s last noteworthy primary challenge, from Reshma Saujani in 2010, turnout stood at 16.4 percent. The last competitive primary in the district represented by Donovan was in 2010, when it was the 13th District and Grimm defeated Michael Allegretti in an election with 13.7 percent turnout. Both of these primaries occurred before a 2012 federal court decision that led New York to become the only state this year with separate federal and state primary days, wherein the state was forced to move its congressional primary earlier in the year and lawmakers declined to also move the state-level vote. The separate days can depress turnout, says Romalewski.</p> <p>“In recent years, there’s been as many as four elections within a year, primaries and generals, that people have to turn out for,” he said. In 2016, New York voters turned out for presidential primaries in April, congressional primaries in June, state and local primaries in September, and finally the general election in November. “It definitely risks voter burnout, the opposite of turnout.”</p> <p>Clarke’s last primary challenge, in 2012, saw a 6.2 percent turnout. Maloney faced a challenge in 2016 from attorney Peter Lindner, in a race that saw a 6.7 percent turnout.</p> <p>Turnout was similarly low elsewhere in the city and state. In the 5th District, where Representative Gregory Meeks won 81 percent of the vote against two challengers, Mizan Choudhury and Carl Achille, saw a 3.8 percent turnout. In the 16th District, Eliot Engel dispatched three challengers -- Jonathan Lewis, Derickson Lawrence, and Joyce Briscoe -- with 74 percent of the vote in an election with 9.8 percent turnout.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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Small Number of Votes Likely to Carry Harlem Special Election 2017-02-02T05:00:00+00:00 2017-02-02T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6745-small-number-of-votes-likely-to-carry-harlem-special-election Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/nyc_boe_photo_voting_machines_cropped.png" alt="nyc boe photo voting machines cropped" width="600" height="419" /></p> <p dir="ltr">photo: NYC Board of Elections</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">When City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., a Bronx Democrat, was elected in a special held on February 23 last year, only 3,764 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/election_results/2016/20160223Special%20Election/00202100017Bronx%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2017th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">ballots</a> were cast and he received 1,455 of them. There were five other candidates in the race.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2013, almost exactly four years ago, Donovan Richards was elected to represent Queens’ 31st Council District. Eight candidates ran and 9,147 people <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/SpecialElectionQueens31CityCouncil/Queens31CityCouncil.pdf" target="_blank">voted</a>. Richards received 2,646 votes, closely beating out Pesach Osina who got 2,567 votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Special elections for City Council are fairly rare, almost always low-turnout, and much more important than people may realize. Not only do specials, like any election, change the course of the candidates lives and careers, but they determine local representation for district residents and larger policy contributions that winners may make to the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">In just a few days -- on February 14 -- nearly a dozen candidates will be on the ballot for a special City Council election in Harlem to replace former Council Member Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly in November. But the especially large slate of candidates is unlikely to mean there will be strong voter turnout. Special elections tend to draw far fewer people to the polls than regularly-scheduled primary and general elections, which themselves typically host unimpressive turnout in New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s twice as hard, if not more, to get people to vote in a special election,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the Center for Urban Research’s mapping service at CUNY Graduate Center. “People aren’t used to voting in February.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The challenge with a special election,” said Romalewski, “is that not only do candidates and supporters need to make the case for why people should vote for them, but they also have to cross the threshold of getting people to know that there is an election. During the general, you don’t have that issue.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Special elections in New York City are nonpartisan, meaning that there are no party primaries and candidates do not run on the typical party ballot lines. Instead, they create their own party name and can appear on the ballot if they collect the requisite number of valid petition signatures from district residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Including those that elected Council Members Salamanca and Richards, there have been six City Council special elections between 2010 and 2016. Although each was held in different circumstances, and there’s no easy apples-to-apples comparisons to be made, some factors do hold true. For instance, specials scheduled the same day as the general election see higher turnout, in part because of increased awareness among voters and votes cast down party lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">Voters have the “ingrained” habit of going to the polls in November during general elections, Romalewski noted, and if a special is held the same day, people may cast votes along party lines. Then even an unopposed candidate could receive a substantial number of votes that are mostly unavailable during a special election held in, say, February.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, City Council District 9 -- the Harlem seat home to this month’s special election -- had 96,797 active registered <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/EnrollmentTotals/2016/EnrollmentTotals_by_CityCouncil_4_1_2016.pdf" target="_blank">voters</a>, according to the New York City Board of Elections. This includes 79,482 Democrats, 3,108 Republicans and 11,241 unaffiliated voters.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the September 2013 Democratic <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/2013SeptemberPrimaryElection/01021000091New%20York%20Democratic%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%209th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">primary election</a> for the seat, 18,412 votes were cast, 12,878 of which were for Inez Dickens, who was running for re-election and had only one opponent. In the general, Dickens ran unopposed, but <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/2013GeneralElection/00102100009New%20York%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%209th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">received</a> 23,454 out of 28,647 votes cast.</p> <p dir="ltr">This next vote for the Council member from District 9 will not be on primary or general election day, though. It will be February 14, and turnout could be exceedingly low. With eleven candidates on the ballot, a winner may prevail with fewer than 2,000 votes, if that. The candidates are State Senator Bill Perkins; Marvin Holland; Charles Cooper; Donald Fields; Pierre Gooding; Athena Moore; Todd Stevens; Larry Blackmon; Cordell Cleare; Caprice Alves; and Dawn Simmons.</p> <p dir="ltr">Aside from the eleven who did make it, two other candidates were kicked off the ballot by the Board of Elections <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170201/central-harlem/harlem-council-race-inez-dickens" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>, one for having submitted ballot petitions past the deadline and another for attempting to run on the Democratic Party line in a nonpartisan election.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two recent “special” elections, in Staten Island’s District 51 and Queens District 23, were held on November 3, 2015, the day of the general election, to fill vacancies created from the separate resignations of two City Council members. Owing to technicalities in election law, based on the timing of the vacancies the District 51 race was considered a special election and the other was an “off-year” election, which involves different rules.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the Staten Island race, there were 13,002 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/election_results/2015/20151103General%20Election/00502100051Richmond%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2051st%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> in total, of which 9,111 went to now-Council Member Joe Borelli, a Republican Assembly member at the time. (Borelli was on the ballot again in 2016, running in an “off-year” election for the last year of the term.) The Queens “off-year” election, on the other hand, involved a party primary in September 2015, in which Barry Grodenchik won the Democratic nomination with 1,942 votes out of the total 7,196. On November 3, he received 6,156 votes out of 11,305 cast, beating his Republican opponent by 2,000 votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Similarly, in 2012, Andy King was elected to the City Council from District 12 in the Bronx, in another special election held with the general election. King <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2012/GeneralElection/0000250122Bronx%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2012th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">received</a> 35,580 votes out of 58,505 votes cast in the nonpartisan race. He had five competitors.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two special elections held in 2010 also bear the same pattern -- much higher turnout when held in conjunction with the general election. When Brooklyn’s David Greenfield was elected to the District 44 seat in March of that year, he received 7,242 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2010/44CouncilRecap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> of the 12,762 cast. Later in November, on general election day, when Ruben Wills ran for District 28 in Queens, he received 6,145 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2010/General/27Queens28CouncilSpecialRecap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> but 22,428 people voted.</p> <p dir="ltr">By law, the mayor must call for a special election within three days of a vacancy occurring and the election must take place on the first Tuesday at least 45 days after the vacancy. This helps avoid prolonged periods without community representation, but leads to specials on seemingly random Tuesdays.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In November, most voters know about the election.” said political consultant Jerry Skurnik, co-founder of Prime New York. In specials held during the rest of the year, he said, candidates have two necessary tasks to perform. “You’ve got to convince people to vote and then convince people to vote for you,” he said.</p> <p>Skurnik did point out that the range of turnout in special elections is usually between 10 to 15 percent, trending towards the lower end, implying that there is a dedicated base of voters that will cast a ballot regardless of the timing of the election or even the weather on the particular day. The difference, though, comes down to the race and the candidates. “It’s driven largely by how competitive it is and how active candidates are,” Skurnik said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/nyc_boe_photo_voting_machines_cropped.png" alt="nyc boe photo voting machines cropped" width="600" height="419" /></p> <p dir="ltr">photo: NYC Board of Elections</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">When City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., a Bronx Democrat, was elected in a special held on February 23 last year, only 3,764 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/election_results/2016/20160223Special%20Election/00202100017Bronx%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2017th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">ballots</a> were cast and he received 1,455 of them. There were five other candidates in the race.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2013, almost exactly four years ago, Donovan Richards was elected to represent Queens’ 31st Council District. Eight candidates ran and 9,147 people <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/SpecialElectionQueens31CityCouncil/Queens31CityCouncil.pdf" target="_blank">voted</a>. Richards received 2,646 votes, closely beating out Pesach Osina who got 2,567 votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Special elections for City Council are fairly rare, almost always low-turnout, and much more important than people may realize. Not only do specials, like any election, change the course of the candidates lives and careers, but they determine local representation for district residents and larger policy contributions that winners may make to the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">In just a few days -- on February 14 -- nearly a dozen candidates will be on the ballot for a special City Council election in Harlem to replace former Council Member Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly in November. But the especially large slate of candidates is unlikely to mean there will be strong voter turnout. Special elections tend to draw far fewer people to the polls than regularly-scheduled primary and general elections, which themselves typically host unimpressive turnout in New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s twice as hard, if not more, to get people to vote in a special election,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the Center for Urban Research’s mapping service at CUNY Graduate Center. “People aren’t used to voting in February.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The challenge with a special election,” said Romalewski, “is that not only do candidates and supporters need to make the case for why people should vote for them, but they also have to cross the threshold of getting people to know that there is an election. During the general, you don’t have that issue.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Special elections in New York City are nonpartisan, meaning that there are no party primaries and candidates do not run on the typical party ballot lines. Instead, they create their own party name and can appear on the ballot if they collect the requisite number of valid petition signatures from district residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Including those that elected Council Members Salamanca and Richards, there have been six City Council special elections between 2010 and 2016. Although each was held in different circumstances, and there’s no easy apples-to-apples comparisons to be made, some factors do hold true. For instance, specials scheduled the same day as the general election see higher turnout, in part because of increased awareness among voters and votes cast down party lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">Voters have the “ingrained” habit of going to the polls in November during general elections, Romalewski noted, and if a special is held the same day, people may cast votes along party lines. Then even an unopposed candidate could receive a substantial number of votes that are mostly unavailable during a special election held in, say, February.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, City Council District 9 -- the Harlem seat home to this month’s special election -- had 96,797 active registered <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/EnrollmentTotals/2016/EnrollmentTotals_by_CityCouncil_4_1_2016.pdf" target="_blank">voters</a>, according to the New York City Board of Elections. This includes 79,482 Democrats, 3,108 Republicans and 11,241 unaffiliated voters.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the September 2013 Democratic <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/2013SeptemberPrimaryElection/01021000091New%20York%20Democratic%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%209th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">primary election</a> for the seat, 18,412 votes were cast, 12,878 of which were for Inez Dickens, who was running for re-election and had only one opponent. In the general, Dickens ran unopposed, but <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2013/2013GeneralElection/00102100009New%20York%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%209th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">received</a> 23,454 out of 28,647 votes cast.</p> <p dir="ltr">This next vote for the Council member from District 9 will not be on primary or general election day, though. It will be February 14, and turnout could be exceedingly low. With eleven candidates on the ballot, a winner may prevail with fewer than 2,000 votes, if that. The candidates are State Senator Bill Perkins; Marvin Holland; Charles Cooper; Donald Fields; Pierre Gooding; Athena Moore; Todd Stevens; Larry Blackmon; Cordell Cleare; Caprice Alves; and Dawn Simmons.</p> <p dir="ltr">Aside from the eleven who did make it, two other candidates were kicked off the ballot by the Board of Elections <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170201/central-harlem/harlem-council-race-inez-dickens" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>, one for having submitted ballot petitions past the deadline and another for attempting to run on the Democratic Party line in a nonpartisan election.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two recent “special” elections, in Staten Island’s District 51 and Queens District 23, were held on November 3, 2015, the day of the general election, to fill vacancies created from the separate resignations of two City Council members. Owing to technicalities in election law, based on the timing of the vacancies the District 51 race was considered a special election and the other was an “off-year” election, which involves different rules.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the Staten Island race, there were 13,002 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/election_results/2015/20151103General%20Election/00502100051Richmond%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2051st%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> in total, of which 9,111 went to now-Council Member Joe Borelli, a Republican Assembly member at the time. (Borelli was on the ballot again in 2016, running in an “off-year” election for the last year of the term.) The Queens “off-year” election, on the other hand, involved a party primary in September 2015, in which Barry Grodenchik won the Democratic nomination with 1,942 votes out of the total 7,196. On November 3, he received 6,156 votes out of 11,305 cast, beating his Republican opponent by 2,000 votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Similarly, in 2012, Andy King was elected to the City Council from District 12 in the Bronx, in another special election held with the general election. King <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2012/GeneralElection/0000250122Bronx%20Member%20of%20the%20City%20Council%2012th%20Council%20District%20Recap.pdf" target="_blank">received</a> 35,580 votes out of 58,505 votes cast in the nonpartisan race. He had five competitors.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two special elections held in 2010 also bear the same pattern -- much higher turnout when held in conjunction with the general election. When Brooklyn’s David Greenfield was elected to the District 44 seat in March of that year, he received 7,242 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2010/44CouncilRecap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> of the 12,762 cast. Later in November, on general election day, when Ruben Wills ran for District 28 in Queens, he received 6,145 <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/results/2010/General/27Queens28CouncilSpecialRecap.pdf" target="_blank">votes</a> but 22,428 people voted.</p> <p dir="ltr">By law, the mayor must call for a special election within three days of a vacancy occurring and the election must take place on the first Tuesday at least 45 days after the vacancy. This helps avoid prolonged periods without community representation, but leads to specials on seemingly random Tuesdays.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In November, most voters know about the election.” said political consultant Jerry Skurnik, co-founder of Prime New York. In specials held during the rest of the year, he said, candidates have two necessary tasks to perform. “You’ve got to convince people to vote and then convince people to vote for you,” he said.</p> <p>Skurnik did point out that the range of turnout in special elections is usually between 10 to 15 percent, trending towards the lower end, implying that there is a dedicated base of voters that will cast a ballot regardless of the timing of the election or even the weather on the particular day. The difference, though, comes down to the race and the candidates. “It’s driven largely by how competitive it is and how active candidates are,” Skurnik said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
With De Blasio Appearing Vulnerable, Heightened Examination of Paths to Defeat Him 2016-08-14T04:00:00+00:00 2016-08-14T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6480-with-de-blasio-appearing-vulnerable-heightened-examination-of-paths-to-defeat-him Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/28132525604_33be991e32_z.jpg" alt="de blasio balcony" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">Mayor Bill de Blasio often says he doesn&rsquo;t put much stock in public opinion polls; he believes they&rsquo;re about as accurate as weather predictions. When asked, he didn&rsquo;t express much concern after a <a href="https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/new-york-city/release-detail?ReleaseID=2369" target="_blank">Quinnipiac University poll</a> released August 1 showed that 51 percent of New York City voters don&rsquo;t think he deserves to be re-elected in 2017. But even if de Blasio didn&rsquo;t care, his critics and potential opponents surely did, and are likely buoyed in their belief that there is a way to beat an incumbent Democrat who has been arguably the most progressive mayor in the city&rsquo;s history and overseen dropping crime, growing jobs, and a record tourism.</p> <p dir="ltr">As polls show de Blasio&rsquo;s relative weakness, some voices have grown louder calling for his ouster, and potential opponents weigh jumping into the race, one key question is the best path to defeating him. In an overwhelmingly Democratic city that saw 20 years of Republican dominance of the mayoralty before his election, it&rsquo;s not immediately clear where de Blasio is most vulnerable.</p> <p dir="ltr">As can be expected, political consultants are divided on the prospect of de Blasio&rsquo;s re-election. Republican consultants believe he can be beaten if an opponent uses the right strategy, aptly highlighting the mayor&rsquo;s weaknesses, while many Democrats are certain the chances of that are negligible at best.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[De Blasio&rsquo;s opponents] need to make it a referendum on his competence and his management,&rdquo; said Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist. &ldquo;That includes Democrats, especially in the primaries.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;An incompetent mayor can lose,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is the competence argument that is already being made by the loudest voice to thus far openly declare intention to defeat de Blasio in 2017 - that of consultant Bradley Tusk, who ran former Mayor Michael Bloomberg&rsquo;s third successful mayoral campaign, in 2009. Tusk has said, though, that he believes the most likely path to defeating de Blasio in 2017 is through the Democratic primary. He&rsquo;s currently waging a public relations campaign to damage the mayor while he attempts to recruit the strongest candidate possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">As Tusk and others, even Republicans, acknowledge, the voter registration numbers don&rsquo;t lie. They also see that while de Blasio&rsquo;s approval rating is low, he still has fairly strong support among Democrats, especially African-Americans.</p> <p dir="ltr">In order to beat de Blasio, &ldquo;Republicans and independents will have to appeal to disaffected Democrats and have to bring in pretty much every constituency,&rdquo; said Siegfried. &ldquo;Bill de Blasio is absolutely beatable only if you run a good and strong campaign with a solid candidate...They should aim to peel off the pork from where de Blasio is strong, particularly the African-American community.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">On the Republican end, there are already a few candidates who&rsquo;ve indicated they may run against the mayor, including Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich; billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, who lost in the 2013 Republican primary; real estate developer Paul Massey; and former professional football player and Harlem pastor Michel Faulkner. The latter two have officially declared their runs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Republican campaign consultant Jessica Proud of The November Team, who is working for Massey&rsquo;s campaign, believes there is a path to victory against the incumbent mayor. &ldquo;Clearly de Blasio has not been able to inspire the confidence of voters,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He has not shown himself to be a good manager of the city.&rdquo; Proud said Massey&rsquo;s appeal is that he&rsquo;s not a politician. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not an ideologue, his approach would be one of good management,&rdquo; she said, with an implicit nod toward a Bloomberg-esque technocrat and citing Massey&rsquo;s top priorities in the campaign: public safety and quality of life issues, housing, and improving city schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">The management issue is a common refrain and relates directly to competence. Even though crime is down, Republican consultants point to polls that show the perception of crime remains skewed. Many people believe other quality of life issues, like street cleanliness, are getting worse even if there is evidence to the contrary. The Quinnipiac poll released August 1 showed that 49 percent of New York City voters disapproved of how the mayor is handling crime, compared to 42 percent who approved.</p> <p dir="ltr">George Arzt, a Democratic consultant, said, &ldquo;[De Blasio is] vulnerable to a challenge but not from a Republican.&rdquo; He said that contenders like Massey or Catsimatidis don&rsquo;t have the same level of resources as Bloomberg did, and that they definitely don&rsquo;t have the political skills or organization. &ldquo;There were circumstances that cannot be duplicated as we see now,&rdquo; he said of Bloomberg&rsquo;s election as a Republican candidate. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s doubtful that anyone even with money can make a go of it.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Another Democratic strategist, Hank Sheinkopf, said a Republican candidate could only be elected if the city were to undergo a serious crisis, say a crime wave, massive corruption, or another recession. De Blasio's administration and campaign allies are being investigated on multiple fronts by state and federal law enforcement officials - the results of those investigations could shift political dynamics drastically, of course. Short of major indictments, Sheinkopf did point out early indicators of problems -- certain crimes have increased, like rape, but overall the crime rate is at historic lows; school test scores may be improving but the schools are underperforming in general; violence in the city&rsquo;s jails; and future budget deficits despite the city being flush with cash.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even with those considerations, Sheinkopf said, &ldquo;A fusion candidate will have a better chance,&rdquo; &nbsp;referring to a candidate who runs on multiple party lines. &ldquo;They have the Republican line and other lines which makes it easier for people to vote for them.&rdquo; An effective Republican challenger would have to draw crossover votes from traditionally Democratic voting sections of the population, as Siegfried also suggested and any Republican candidate or consultant must understand.</p> <p dir="ltr">Democrats&rsquo; immense voter registration advantage is simply a reality that all involved in New York City political campaigns must recognize. However, one caveat to the voter registration numbers are the voter turnout numbers, which are often quite low. If a certain candidate, incumbent or otherwise, can motivate more people to vote in a significant mass, an election can be swung.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, there are more than 4 million <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr16.pdf" target="_blank">active registered voters</a> in the city, of which 2.75 million are Democrats and only 414,478 are Republicans. However, that advantage isn&rsquo;t necessarily borne out by history, a fact pointed to by Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center. In an interview with Gotham Gazette, Romalewski said, &ldquo;The enrollment advantage doesn&rsquo;t necessarily tell you much. It matters less than personality of the candidates and the issues. If everyone turned out to vote who is registered to vote and voted the party line, a Democrat would win. But that doesn&rsquo;t always happen.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Romalewski noted that a 2013 general election analysis showed that in certain districts, de Blasio received fewer Democratic votes than the total votes cast by registered Democrats, indicating that some may have voted for his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota. In other districts, de Blasio received more votes than the total Democratic votes cast, meaning he had support from outside the Democratic party as well. There were six major qualified parties and 14 minor parties on the general election ballot, with de Blasio holding the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city also has nearly 800,000 unaffiliated voters, often called &ldquo;independents,&rdquo; which adds another facet to the Democrat-Republican enrollment imbalance.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In 2017, I think the same kind of analysis holds,&rdquo; Romalewski said in an email. &ldquo;If none or just a small number of Democrats vote for de Blasio's opponent, he'll do ok. &nbsp;But if his challenger can persuade enough Dems to "defect," he'll be in trouble.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">But de Blasio&rsquo;s great strength, as Romalewski pointed out, is that he &ldquo;not only did well and much better than the prior three Democratic candidates [for mayor] but also did well in areas where Bloomberg did well. He kinda combined the traditional Democratic base -- Black and Hispanic areas -- with liberal white areas.&rdquo; De Blasio won a dominant 73 percent of the general election vote against Lhota in 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">Critics point to the fact that only 26 percent of registered voters cast ballots in that election, which indicates some combination of apathy, recognition that de Blasio had a huge polling advantage heading toward Election Day, and limited enthusiasm for Lhota from Republicans and independents.</p> <p dir="ltr">A Republican would have to have a &ldquo;cache&rdquo; of progressive politics combined with the skills of a good manager, Romalewski said, to cut into de Blasio&rsquo;s voter base. &ldquo;The conventional wisdom is that it&rsquo;s unlikely [de Blasio will] have effective challengers,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most observers assume that the mayor will only face a stiff challenge in the Democratic primary, due to the aforementioned factors and no obvious other big name Republican or independent waiting in the wings. And a tough Democratic primary is only possible, some say, if a single strong candidate runs against de Blasio instead of multiple candidates who could split the anti-de Blasio vote. &ldquo;If two or three Democrats challenge the mayor, he&rsquo;s going to win,&rdquo; said Bill Cunningham, managing director at DKC and former communications director for Bloomberg. &ldquo;If only one runs, there&rsquo;s a chance to coalesce the people who view [de Blasio] unfavorably and give them a place to go vote.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">One other path some experts float would be for a strong African-American candidate to enter the race - someone like Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, for example - who would chip away at de Blasio&rsquo;s deep African-American base, and one strong white candidate - someone like Comptroller Scott Stringer - who could pick up as many other disaffected Democrats as possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cunningham said for a competitive race, &ldquo;You need a message, a messenger and you need to be able to deliver that to the public. There&rsquo;s no mystery to what the recipe is. The trick is finding a candidate who is intelligent and can campaign effectively and has the money to deliver the message to the voters.&rdquo; Bloomberg had those qualities, he pointed out, but the current crop of contenders don&rsquo;t. Along with Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is currently seen as the other most likely Democratic challenger to the mayor.</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked about potential opponents, de Blasio has repeatedly said he&rsquo;s ready to take on all comers, at times mentioning the pillars of his term: universal pre-kindergarten, affordable housing, and low crime. At one point last year de Blasio discussed his "record of achievement" and said of potential 2017 opponents, "come one, come all."</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesperson for de Blasio&rsquo;s campaign, Dan Levitan, emailed a statement about the prospects for 2017, saying, &ldquo;Crime just hit another all-time low, jobs are at record highs, the City is building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace, while graduation rates and test scores continue to improve. That is Mayor de Blasio's record and that is what next year's election will be about.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Even Tusk, who is arguably de Blasio&rsquo;s most vocal opponent right now, acknowledges that he&rsquo;ll be hard pressed to find a candidate who fits the bill of a Democrat with appeal among Republican voters. He recently indicated to the <a href="http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/nyregion/weakened-de-blasio-may-be-vulnerable-to-3rd-party-bid-by-a-democrat.html?partner=rss&amp;emc=rss&amp;utm_source=dlvr.it&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">New York Times</a> that a successful candidate could run on a third-party line in the general even if they lost the Democratic primary; or a candidate could possibly skip the Democratic primary altogether and run on an independent line.</p> <p dir="ltr">As CUNY&rsquo;s Romalewski notes, in the 2009 general, Bloomberg did well in areas where he consistently won votes in the prior two elections -- much of Queens, the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Downtown Manhattan, South Brooklyn, and almost all of Staten Island. His Democratic opponent at the time, Bill Thompson, made it a close race, losing by less than five points. Thompson, who is black, won large blocks in Southeast Queens, Central Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx. Unfortunately for him, though, turnout wasn&rsquo;t as high in these areas as he needed for a victory. De Blasio upended the pattern in 2013, pulling votes from constituencies that voted for both Bloomberg and Thompson in &lsquo;09.</p> <p dir="ltr">Romalewski&rsquo;s analysis of the 2013 election also notes areas de Blasio lost to Lhota, including the traditionally Republican-leaning Upper East Side, Middle Village and other areas in northeast Queens, a few orthodox Jewish communities in Southern Brooklyn, and most of Staten Island. In general, these areas were dominated by white New Yorkers who have been increasingly critical of de Blasio. The mayor overwhelmingly won communities dominated by African-Americans and Hispanics, who continue to support him. The Quinnipiac poll noted as much, finding that in hypothetical match-ups whites largely favored Comptroller Scott Stringer and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn over de Blasio, who maintained huge margins among African-Americans and Hispanics. (The poll did not include possible Republican candidates.)</p> <p dir="ltr">In terms of approval rating, 63 percent of black voters and 50 percent of Hispanic voters approve of de Blasio&rsquo;s handling of the job, while only 25 percent of white voters felt the same. The Democrat-Republican divide is even greater, with 55 percent of Democrats giving de Blasio a thumbs up and only 9 percent of Republicans doing so. Among independents, 30 percent approved of the mayor.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tusk&rsquo;s &ldquo;NYC Deserves Better&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nycdeservesbetter.com/blog/2016/8/12/new-podcast-bradley-tusk-with-jefrey-pollock" target="_blank">podcast</a>, Democratic consultant and pollster Jefrey Pollock pointed out that despite the mayor&rsquo;s weakening numbers, he has enough support among African-Americans and Hispanics for a strong showing in the Democratic primary. Pollock noted, and Tusk reiterated, that popular adage that almost every political expert and consultant says of the mayoral race -- &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t beat somebody with nobody.&rdquo; Pollock said independent groups support an opponent of de Blasio, if an effective one were to emerge.</p> <p>&ldquo;That is the great challenge,&rdquo; Tusk said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/28132525604_33be991e32_z.jpg" alt="de blasio balcony" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">Mayor Bill de Blasio often says he doesn&rsquo;t put much stock in public opinion polls; he believes they&rsquo;re about as accurate as weather predictions. When asked, he didn&rsquo;t express much concern after a <a href="https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/new-york-city/release-detail?ReleaseID=2369" target="_blank">Quinnipiac University poll</a> released August 1 showed that 51 percent of New York City voters don&rsquo;t think he deserves to be re-elected in 2017. But even if de Blasio didn&rsquo;t care, his critics and potential opponents surely did, and are likely buoyed in their belief that there is a way to beat an incumbent Democrat who has been arguably the most progressive mayor in the city&rsquo;s history and overseen dropping crime, growing jobs, and a record tourism.</p> <p dir="ltr">As polls show de Blasio&rsquo;s relative weakness, some voices have grown louder calling for his ouster, and potential opponents weigh jumping into the race, one key question is the best path to defeating him. In an overwhelmingly Democratic city that saw 20 years of Republican dominance of the mayoralty before his election, it&rsquo;s not immediately clear where de Blasio is most vulnerable.</p> <p dir="ltr">As can be expected, political consultants are divided on the prospect of de Blasio&rsquo;s re-election. Republican consultants believe he can be beaten if an opponent uses the right strategy, aptly highlighting the mayor&rsquo;s weaknesses, while many Democrats are certain the chances of that are negligible at best.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[De Blasio&rsquo;s opponents] need to make it a referendum on his competence and his management,&rdquo; said Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist. &ldquo;That includes Democrats, especially in the primaries.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;An incompetent mayor can lose,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is the competence argument that is already being made by the loudest voice to thus far openly declare intention to defeat de Blasio in 2017 - that of consultant Bradley Tusk, who ran former Mayor Michael Bloomberg&rsquo;s third successful mayoral campaign, in 2009. Tusk has said, though, that he believes the most likely path to defeating de Blasio in 2017 is through the Democratic primary. He&rsquo;s currently waging a public relations campaign to damage the mayor while he attempts to recruit the strongest candidate possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">As Tusk and others, even Republicans, acknowledge, the voter registration numbers don&rsquo;t lie. They also see that while de Blasio&rsquo;s approval rating is low, he still has fairly strong support among Democrats, especially African-Americans.</p> <p dir="ltr">In order to beat de Blasio, &ldquo;Republicans and independents will have to appeal to disaffected Democrats and have to bring in pretty much every constituency,&rdquo; said Siegfried. &ldquo;Bill de Blasio is absolutely beatable only if you run a good and strong campaign with a solid candidate...They should aim to peel off the pork from where de Blasio is strong, particularly the African-American community.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">On the Republican end, there are already a few candidates who&rsquo;ve indicated they may run against the mayor, including Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich; billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, who lost in the 2013 Republican primary; real estate developer Paul Massey; and former professional football player and Harlem pastor Michel Faulkner. The latter two have officially declared their runs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Republican campaign consultant Jessica Proud of The November Team, who is working for Massey&rsquo;s campaign, believes there is a path to victory against the incumbent mayor. &ldquo;Clearly de Blasio has not been able to inspire the confidence of voters,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He has not shown himself to be a good manager of the city.&rdquo; Proud said Massey&rsquo;s appeal is that he&rsquo;s not a politician. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not an ideologue, his approach would be one of good management,&rdquo; she said, with an implicit nod toward a Bloomberg-esque technocrat and citing Massey&rsquo;s top priorities in the campaign: public safety and quality of life issues, housing, and improving city schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">The management issue is a common refrain and relates directly to competence. Even though crime is down, Republican consultants point to polls that show the perception of crime remains skewed. Many people believe other quality of life issues, like street cleanliness, are getting worse even if there is evidence to the contrary. The Quinnipiac poll released August 1 showed that 49 percent of New York City voters disapproved of how the mayor is handling crime, compared to 42 percent who approved.</p> <p dir="ltr">George Arzt, a Democratic consultant, said, &ldquo;[De Blasio is] vulnerable to a challenge but not from a Republican.&rdquo; He said that contenders like Massey or Catsimatidis don&rsquo;t have the same level of resources as Bloomberg did, and that they definitely don&rsquo;t have the political skills or organization. &ldquo;There were circumstances that cannot be duplicated as we see now,&rdquo; he said of Bloomberg&rsquo;s election as a Republican candidate. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s doubtful that anyone even with money can make a go of it.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Another Democratic strategist, Hank Sheinkopf, said a Republican candidate could only be elected if the city were to undergo a serious crisis, say a crime wave, massive corruption, or another recession. De Blasio's administration and campaign allies are being investigated on multiple fronts by state and federal law enforcement officials - the results of those investigations could shift political dynamics drastically, of course. Short of major indictments, Sheinkopf did point out early indicators of problems -- certain crimes have increased, like rape, but overall the crime rate is at historic lows; school test scores may be improving but the schools are underperforming in general; violence in the city&rsquo;s jails; and future budget deficits despite the city being flush with cash.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even with those considerations, Sheinkopf said, &ldquo;A fusion candidate will have a better chance,&rdquo; &nbsp;referring to a candidate who runs on multiple party lines. &ldquo;They have the Republican line and other lines which makes it easier for people to vote for them.&rdquo; An effective Republican challenger would have to draw crossover votes from traditionally Democratic voting sections of the population, as Siegfried also suggested and any Republican candidate or consultant must understand.</p> <p dir="ltr">Democrats&rsquo; immense voter registration advantage is simply a reality that all involved in New York City political campaigns must recognize. However, one caveat to the voter registration numbers are the voter turnout numbers, which are often quite low. If a certain candidate, incumbent or otherwise, can motivate more people to vote in a significant mass, an election can be swung.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, there are more than 4 million <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr16.pdf" target="_blank">active registered voters</a> in the city, of which 2.75 million are Democrats and only 414,478 are Republicans. However, that advantage isn&rsquo;t necessarily borne out by history, a fact pointed to by Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center. In an interview with Gotham Gazette, Romalewski said, &ldquo;The enrollment advantage doesn&rsquo;t necessarily tell you much. It matters less than personality of the candidates and the issues. If everyone turned out to vote who is registered to vote and voted the party line, a Democrat would win. But that doesn&rsquo;t always happen.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Romalewski noted that a 2013 general election analysis showed that in certain districts, de Blasio received fewer Democratic votes than the total votes cast by registered Democrats, indicating that some may have voted for his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota. In other districts, de Blasio received more votes than the total Democratic votes cast, meaning he had support from outside the Democratic party as well. There were six major qualified parties and 14 minor parties on the general election ballot, with de Blasio holding the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city also has nearly 800,000 unaffiliated voters, often called &ldquo;independents,&rdquo; which adds another facet to the Democrat-Republican enrollment imbalance.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In 2017, I think the same kind of analysis holds,&rdquo; Romalewski said in an email. &ldquo;If none or just a small number of Democrats vote for de Blasio's opponent, he'll do ok. &nbsp;But if his challenger can persuade enough Dems to "defect," he'll be in trouble.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">But de Blasio&rsquo;s great strength, as Romalewski pointed out, is that he &ldquo;not only did well and much better than the prior three Democratic candidates [for mayor] but also did well in areas where Bloomberg did well. He kinda combined the traditional Democratic base -- Black and Hispanic areas -- with liberal white areas.&rdquo; De Blasio won a dominant 73 percent of the general election vote against Lhota in 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">Critics point to the fact that only 26 percent of registered voters cast ballots in that election, which indicates some combination of apathy, recognition that de Blasio had a huge polling advantage heading toward Election Day, and limited enthusiasm for Lhota from Republicans and independents.</p> <p dir="ltr">A Republican would have to have a &ldquo;cache&rdquo; of progressive politics combined with the skills of a good manager, Romalewski said, to cut into de Blasio&rsquo;s voter base. &ldquo;The conventional wisdom is that it&rsquo;s unlikely [de Blasio will] have effective challengers,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most observers assume that the mayor will only face a stiff challenge in the Democratic primary, due to the aforementioned factors and no obvious other big name Republican or independent waiting in the wings. And a tough Democratic primary is only possible, some say, if a single strong candidate runs against de Blasio instead of multiple candidates who could split the anti-de Blasio vote. &ldquo;If two or three Democrats challenge the mayor, he&rsquo;s going to win,&rdquo; said Bill Cunningham, managing director at DKC and former communications director for Bloomberg. &ldquo;If only one runs, there&rsquo;s a chance to coalesce the people who view [de Blasio] unfavorably and give them a place to go vote.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">One other path some experts float would be for a strong African-American candidate to enter the race - someone like Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, for example - who would chip away at de Blasio&rsquo;s deep African-American base, and one strong white candidate - someone like Comptroller Scott Stringer - who could pick up as many other disaffected Democrats as possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cunningham said for a competitive race, &ldquo;You need a message, a messenger and you need to be able to deliver that to the public. There&rsquo;s no mystery to what the recipe is. The trick is finding a candidate who is intelligent and can campaign effectively and has the money to deliver the message to the voters.&rdquo; Bloomberg had those qualities, he pointed out, but the current crop of contenders don&rsquo;t. Along with Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is currently seen as the other most likely Democratic challenger to the mayor.</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked about potential opponents, de Blasio has repeatedly said he&rsquo;s ready to take on all comers, at times mentioning the pillars of his term: universal pre-kindergarten, affordable housing, and low crime. At one point last year de Blasio discussed his "record of achievement" and said of potential 2017 opponents, "come one, come all."</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesperson for de Blasio&rsquo;s campaign, Dan Levitan, emailed a statement about the prospects for 2017, saying, &ldquo;Crime just hit another all-time low, jobs are at record highs, the City is building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace, while graduation rates and test scores continue to improve. That is Mayor de Blasio's record and that is what next year's election will be about.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Even Tusk, who is arguably de Blasio&rsquo;s most vocal opponent right now, acknowledges that he&rsquo;ll be hard pressed to find a candidate who fits the bill of a Democrat with appeal among Republican voters. He recently indicated to the <a href="http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/nyregion/weakened-de-blasio-may-be-vulnerable-to-3rd-party-bid-by-a-democrat.html?partner=rss&amp;emc=rss&amp;utm_source=dlvr.it&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">New York Times</a> that a successful candidate could run on a third-party line in the general even if they lost the Democratic primary; or a candidate could possibly skip the Democratic primary altogether and run on an independent line.</p> <p dir="ltr">As CUNY&rsquo;s Romalewski notes, in the 2009 general, Bloomberg did well in areas where he consistently won votes in the prior two elections -- much of Queens, the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Downtown Manhattan, South Brooklyn, and almost all of Staten Island. His Democratic opponent at the time, Bill Thompson, made it a close race, losing by less than five points. Thompson, who is black, won large blocks in Southeast Queens, Central Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx. Unfortunately for him, though, turnout wasn&rsquo;t as high in these areas as he needed for a victory. De Blasio upended the pattern in 2013, pulling votes from constituencies that voted for both Bloomberg and Thompson in &lsquo;09.</p> <p dir="ltr">Romalewski&rsquo;s analysis of the 2013 election also notes areas de Blasio lost to Lhota, including the traditionally Republican-leaning Upper East Side, Middle Village and other areas in northeast Queens, a few orthodox Jewish communities in Southern Brooklyn, and most of Staten Island. In general, these areas were dominated by white New Yorkers who have been increasingly critical of de Blasio. The mayor overwhelmingly won communities dominated by African-Americans and Hispanics, who continue to support him. The Quinnipiac poll noted as much, finding that in hypothetical match-ups whites largely favored Comptroller Scott Stringer and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn over de Blasio, who maintained huge margins among African-Americans and Hispanics. (The poll did not include possible Republican candidates.)</p> <p dir="ltr">In terms of approval rating, 63 percent of black voters and 50 percent of Hispanic voters approve of de Blasio&rsquo;s handling of the job, while only 25 percent of white voters felt the same. The Democrat-Republican divide is even greater, with 55 percent of Democrats giving de Blasio a thumbs up and only 9 percent of Republicans doing so. Among independents, 30 percent approved of the mayor.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tusk&rsquo;s &ldquo;NYC Deserves Better&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nycdeservesbetter.com/blog/2016/8/12/new-podcast-bradley-tusk-with-jefrey-pollock" target="_blank">podcast</a>, Democratic consultant and pollster Jefrey Pollock pointed out that despite the mayor&rsquo;s weakening numbers, he has enough support among African-Americans and Hispanics for a strong showing in the Democratic primary. Pollock noted, and Tusk reiterated, that popular adage that almost every political expert and consultant says of the mayoral race -- &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t beat somebody with nobody.&rdquo; Pollock said independent groups support an opponent of de Blasio, if an effective one were to emerge.</p> <p>&ldquo;That is the great challenge,&rdquo; Tusk said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Can Trump Win New York? Inside the Numbers 2016-07-21T04:00:00+00:00 2016-07-21T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6449-can-trump-win-new-york-inside-the-numbers Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Trump_Pence_GOP_2.jpg" alt="Trump Pence GOP 2" width="600" height="443" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump &amp; Mike Pence (photo via @GOP)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump&rsquo;s nomination for President at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was the culmination of a primary campaign that overturned precedent and defied expectations of the political class. Now, as he shifts his attention the general election, Trump has set his sights on another lofty goal, one which has been out of reach for Republicans for over two decades: winning New York, his home state.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recent polls, voter enrollment data, and primary turnout patterns indicate that defeating presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York would require near-unanimous support from both Republican and independent voters&mdash;a feat that Trump does not seem poised to accomplish.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trump&rsquo;s campaign announced in May that it will focus on <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/26/in-general-election-donald-trump-plans-to-focus-on-15-states/" target="_blank">15 states</a> in the general election, including traditional swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia, as well as Democratic strongholds like California and New York. Since then, Clinton has maintained a comfortable double-digit lead in <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">New York polls</a>, with the most recent from Quinnipiac University <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">released on Tuesday</a> giving her a 47 to 35 percent advantage - a slightly smaller margin than the prior poll, however. Election-modeling publication FiveThirtyEight <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">gives Clinton a 97.1 percent chance</a> of winning here.</p> <p dir="ltr">But Trump and other members of his party seem undeterred by polling trends, instead touting his overwhelming win in the New York primary in April as evidence that the state is in play for the general election. Trump is clearly not to be underestimated, they say, and there are months until Election Day.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If we carry New York by the margin we should, we will have changed American history...If you can break the city then you have the state,&rdquo; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Monday at a breakfast for the New York Republican delegation in Cleveland. Along with his primary success across the country, including in New York, Trump&rsquo;s New York pedigree and presence in the city&rsquo;s public life for decades appear to be giving him and his supporters added confidence.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The win in New York really helped set the momentum,&rdquo; Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican who represents the 27th Congressional District in Western New York and was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2016/07/can-trump-win-new-york-gingrich-thinks-so/#.V40AkKBWTPA.twitter" target="_blank">told State of Politics</a>. &ldquo;New York is in play.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Collins refers to Trump&rsquo;s decisive victory in the New York Republican primary, in which he received 60 percent of the vote and won every county but Manhattan, Trump&rsquo;s home turf, which went to Ohio Governor John Kasich. This was a slightly larger percentage than Clinton - who also calls New York home - won in the Democratic primary, where she earned 58 percent of the vote while facing just one opponent (there were four Republicans on the ballot: Trump, Kasich, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, who had dropped out before the vote).</p> <p dir="ltr">Winning a vast majority of New York Republicans, however, will not be enough to secure a Trump victory here. Even though he won a higher percentage, Trump won half as many raw <a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank">votes in the primary</a> as Clinton, securing 525,000 to her 1 million. Had he secured 100 percent of Republican primary voters, Trump would still have trailed Clinton in New York primary votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, there were 5.8 million Democrats and 2.7 million Republicans enrolled across the state, <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr16.pdf" target="_blank">according to the New York Board of Elections</a>, with New York City voters comprising 3.1 million of the Democrats and 460,000 Republicans. There are another 2.5 million &ldquo;unaffiliated&rdquo; registered voters, otherwise known as independents, and another 705,000 voters registered with smaller parties, like the Green Party or the Independence Party.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Trump_statewide_via_CUNY_graduate_center.png" alt="Trump statewide via CUNY graduate center" width="350" height="282" style="margin: 5px; float: left;" /></a>A total of 2.9 million New Yorkers voted in the presidential primaries this year (2 million Democrats and 922,000 Republicans). For a glimpse of the increase to anticipate in November, the last time there was a non-incumbent presidential election, in 2008, 7.6 million New Yorkers voted in the general election (4.8 million voted Democrat and 2.8 million voted Republican).</p> <p dir="ltr">The Democratic enrollment advantage is expected to continue to favor Clinton this year as voter turnout surges for the general election, though Trump supporters are planning to attract many voters not registered as Republican. According to Steven Romalewski, mapping service director for the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, the last time there were both Democratic and Republican primaries in New York, in 2008, the number of Republican voters jumped from 670,000 to 2.75 million between the primary and general elections, while Democratic voters lept from 1.9 million to 4.8 million voters.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Clinton_statewide_map_via_CUNY_graduate_center.png" alt="Clinton statewide map via CUNY graduate center" width="350" height="283" style="margin: 5px; float: left;" /></a>Romalewski said the increase in voters between the primary and general election was especially prominent within the New York City area. This does not bode well for Trump, who, according to the Quinnipiac poll, <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">leads among upstate voters</a> 48 to 36 percent, but is behind among New York City voters 63 to 20 percent. Trump and Clinton are neck-and-neck among suburban voters.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If the turnout surges even by half the amount [it surged in 2008] from the primary to the general on the <a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><br /></a>Democratic side, it&rsquo;s going to be really hard from a number of perspectives for the GOP side to overcome this,&rdquo; Romalewski said in a phone interview with Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">To win New York, Trump will likely need at least 2 million more voters than the 2.75 million Republican Senator John McCain received here in 2008&mdash;a total that Romalewski said would require winning all Republican-registered voters as well as nearly all independent voters. As of April 1, there were about 2.5 million unaffiliated, or independent, registered voters in New York, and new voters will be able to register until Oct. 14.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trump and Clinton could, however, face a radically different electoral map than McCain, in part because of the unpredictable nature of this year&rsquo;s election.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s especially hard this year to look back for similar situations in presidential campaigns and kind of use those examples to predict or expect what might happen this time,&rdquo; Romalewski said. &ldquo;On the other hand, when you look at the math, it seems highly unlikely that the Republican candidate will be able to pull it out.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">To predict election outcomes, FiveThirtyEight uses an algorithm that weighs polling trends and demographic data. Its New York forecast begins with a strong Clinton lead indicated by polls which is then slightly widened when demographic data is taken into account. The website now <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">predicts</a> that Clinton will win about 54 percent of the vote in New York and that Trump will win 37.5 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Currently, Trump&rsquo;s progress to unite the bulk of non-Democratic New Yorkers has wavered according to polls. Trump performs poorly with independents in New York, as evidenced by Tuesday&rsquo;s Quinnipiac Poll revealing a 41 to 35 percent advantage for Clinton among independents (most respondents said they did not know enough about Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson or Green Party nominee Jill Stein to support or oppose them).</p> <p dir="ltr">Further, Trump has not yet won unequivocal support from Republicans&mdash;nearly 10 percent of Republican New Yorkers <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">do not support him</a>; five of the state&rsquo;s 10 Republican U.S. Congressional Representatives have endorsed his bid for presidency. By contrast, all 18 Democratic Representatives and both Democratic Senators from New York have endorsed Clinton.</p> <p>The last time a Republican presidential candidate won in New York was 1984, when incumbent President Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale -- Reagan won every state but Mondale&rsquo;s home state of Minnesota that year.</p> <p>

***
by Aaron Holmes, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Trump_Pence_GOP_2.jpg" alt="Trump Pence GOP 2" width="600" height="443" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump &amp; Mike Pence (photo via @GOP)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump&rsquo;s nomination for President at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was the culmination of a primary campaign that overturned precedent and defied expectations of the political class. Now, as he shifts his attention the general election, Trump has set his sights on another lofty goal, one which has been out of reach for Republicans for over two decades: winning New York, his home state.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recent polls, voter enrollment data, and primary turnout patterns indicate that defeating presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York would require near-unanimous support from both Republican and independent voters&mdash;a feat that Trump does not seem poised to accomplish.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trump&rsquo;s campaign announced in May that it will focus on <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/26/in-general-election-donald-trump-plans-to-focus-on-15-states/" target="_blank">15 states</a> in the general election, including traditional swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia, as well as Democratic strongholds like California and New York. Since then, Clinton has maintained a comfortable double-digit lead in <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">New York polls</a>, with the most recent from Quinnipiac University <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">released on Tuesday</a> giving her a 47 to 35 percent advantage - a slightly smaller margin than the prior poll, however. Election-modeling publication FiveThirtyEight <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">gives Clinton a 97.1 percent chance</a> of winning here.</p> <p dir="ltr">But Trump and other members of his party seem undeterred by polling trends, instead touting his overwhelming win in the New York primary in April as evidence that the state is in play for the general election. Trump is clearly not to be underestimated, they say, and there are months until Election Day.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If we carry New York by the margin we should, we will have changed American history...If you can break the city then you have the state,&rdquo; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Monday at a breakfast for the New York Republican delegation in Cleveland. Along with his primary success across the country, including in New York, Trump&rsquo;s New York pedigree and presence in the city&rsquo;s public life for decades appear to be giving him and his supporters added confidence.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The win in New York really helped set the momentum,&rdquo; Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican who represents the 27th Congressional District in Western New York and was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2016/07/can-trump-win-new-york-gingrich-thinks-so/#.V40AkKBWTPA.twitter" target="_blank">told State of Politics</a>. &ldquo;New York is in play.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Collins refers to Trump&rsquo;s decisive victory in the New York Republican primary, in which he received 60 percent of the vote and won every county but Manhattan, Trump&rsquo;s home turf, which went to Ohio Governor John Kasich. This was a slightly larger percentage than Clinton - who also calls New York home - won in the Democratic primary, where she earned 58 percent of the vote while facing just one opponent (there were four Republicans on the ballot: Trump, Kasich, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, who had dropped out before the vote).</p> <p dir="ltr">Winning a vast majority of New York Republicans, however, will not be enough to secure a Trump victory here. Even though he won a higher percentage, Trump won half as many raw <a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank">votes in the primary</a> as Clinton, securing 525,000 to her 1 million. Had he secured 100 percent of Republican primary voters, Trump would still have trailed Clinton in New York primary votes.</p> <p dir="ltr">As of April 1, there were 5.8 million Democrats and 2.7 million Republicans enrolled across the state, <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr16.pdf" target="_blank">according to the New York Board of Elections</a>, with New York City voters comprising 3.1 million of the Democrats and 460,000 Republicans. There are another 2.5 million &ldquo;unaffiliated&rdquo; registered voters, otherwise known as independents, and another 705,000 voters registered with smaller parties, like the Green Party or the Independence Party.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Trump_statewide_via_CUNY_graduate_center.png" alt="Trump statewide via CUNY graduate center" width="350" height="282" style="margin: 5px; float: left;" /></a>A total of 2.9 million New Yorkers voted in the presidential primaries this year (2 million Democrats and 922,000 Republicans). For a glimpse of the increase to anticipate in November, the last time there was a non-incumbent presidential election, in 2008, 7.6 million New Yorkers voted in the general election (4.8 million voted Democrat and 2.8 million voted Republican).</p> <p dir="ltr">The Democratic enrollment advantage is expected to continue to favor Clinton this year as voter turnout surges for the general election, though Trump supporters are planning to attract many voters not registered as Republican. According to Steven Romalewski, mapping service director for the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, the last time there were both Democratic and Republican primaries in New York, in 2008, the number of Republican voters jumped from 670,000 to 2.75 million between the primary and general elections, while Democratic voters lept from 1.9 million to 4.8 million voters.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Clinton_statewide_map_via_CUNY_graduate_center.png" alt="Clinton statewide map via CUNY graduate center" width="350" height="283" style="margin: 5px; float: left;" /></a>Romalewski said the increase in voters between the primary and general election was especially prominent within the New York City area. This does not bode well for Trump, who, according to the Quinnipiac poll, <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">leads among upstate voters</a> 48 to 36 percent, but is behind among New York City voters 63 to 20 percent. Trump and Clinton are neck-and-neck among suburban voters.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If the turnout surges even by half the amount [it surged in 2008] from the primary to the general on the <a href="http://www.electionatlas.nyc/maps.html#!PresprimaryNYStateResults" target="_blank"><br /></a>Democratic side, it&rsquo;s going to be really hard from a number of perspectives for the GOP side to overcome this,&rdquo; Romalewski said in a phone interview with Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">To win New York, Trump will likely need at least 2 million more voters than the 2.75 million Republican Senator John McCain received here in 2008&mdash;a total that Romalewski said would require winning all Republican-registered voters as well as nearly all independent voters. As of April 1, there were about 2.5 million unaffiliated, or independent, registered voters in New York, and new voters will be able to register until Oct. 14.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trump and Clinton could, however, face a radically different electoral map than McCain, in part because of the unpredictable nature of this year&rsquo;s election.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s especially hard this year to look back for similar situations in presidential campaigns and kind of use those examples to predict or expect what might happen this time,&rdquo; Romalewski said. &ldquo;On the other hand, when you look at the math, it seems highly unlikely that the Republican candidate will be able to pull it out.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">To predict election outcomes, FiveThirtyEight uses an algorithm that weighs polling trends and demographic data. Its New York forecast begins with a strong Clinton lead indicated by polls which is then slightly widened when demographic data is taken into account. The website now <a href="http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/new-york/" target="_blank">predicts</a> that Clinton will win about 54 percent of the vote in New York and that Trump will win 37.5 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Currently, Trump&rsquo;s progress to unite the bulk of non-Democratic New Yorkers has wavered according to polls. Trump performs poorly with independents in New York, as evidenced by Tuesday&rsquo;s Quinnipiac Poll revealing a 41 to 35 percent advantage for Clinton among independents (most respondents said they did not know enough about Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson or Green Party nominee Jill Stein to support or oppose them).</p> <p dir="ltr">Further, Trump has not yet won unequivocal support from Republicans&mdash;nearly 10 percent of Republican New Yorkers <a href="https://www.qu.edu/images/polling/ny/ny07192016_Ndj15hm.pdf" target="_blank">do not support him</a>; five of the state&rsquo;s 10 Republican U.S. Congressional Representatives have endorsed his bid for presidency. By contrast, all 18 Democratic Representatives and both Democratic Senators from New York have endorsed Clinton.</p> <p>The last time a Republican presidential candidate won in New York was 1984, when incumbent President Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale -- Reagan won every state but Mondale&rsquo;s home state of Minnesota that year.</p> <p>

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by Aaron Holmes, Gotham Gazette

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