Despite President Trump’s claims to contrary, New York was always a no-doubter for Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign. Indeed, a Republican hasn’t won New York since 1984 when Ronald Reagan easily captured a second term in a landslide.
Since then, the Democratic domination of the state has led to the party’s presidential nominees winning every four years in New York.
But New York is also a lot like the rest of the country: Expansive rural areas, prosperous suburban communities and urban centers.
With the Electoral College meeting on Monday, we reached out to some leading political analysts: What is it about New York that enables Democrats to win beyond the simple answer of enrollment?
Larry Levy, the dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, pointed to the support the Biden-Harris ticket received from voters of color, but also suburbanites on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.
“It was a combination of new voters, particularly young voters, and existing voters who were mainly suburban, white, well-education women who just couldn’t take it anymore, so to speak,” Levy said.
And there was some ticket splitting as well, with voters likely casting ballots for Biden and then down ballot in some instances voting for Republicans. Many of the voters who cast ballots for Biden also likely voted for Republicans like John Katko or Tom Reed.
Part of that is a trickle-down effect from 2018. That year, anti-Trump voters could take their anger out only on Republican candidates. This year they had more “leeway” to vote GOP, but also against the incumbent president.
“Those strongly disapproving of Trump had only one way to express that whether they were woke Democrats, moderate independents or traditional non-tea party Republicans and that was vote against Republicans in the congressional races,” said Bruce Gyory, a former gubernatorial advisor and SUNY Albany adjunct professor. “This year they had two options and almost all of them chose to vote against Trump and for Biden.”
Upstate counties this year also flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden. Broome, Essex, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties all turned blue this year.
“They’re going to be swing counties,” Gyory said. “And it’s going to be purple. If you really wanted to color in most of upstate accurately, you would color it in purple rather than blue or red.”
And this comes as the fastest growing segment of voters in New York are independent voters — people who are not registered in either major political party.