NY Presidential Primary results
April 20, 2016 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone explain why several NY neighborhoods that went strongly for Zephyr Teachout in the NY gubernatorial race then went strongly for Clinton in the presidential primary? I'm looking at Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side and Park Slope in particular. I thought Teachout was running on a campaign finance reform platform.
posted by mike_bling to Law & Government (10 answers total)
Voters can have more than one priority in mind when voting.
posted by stewiethegreat at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2016 [12 favorites]

I thought Teachout was running on a campaign finance reform platform.

That, and not being Andrew Cuomo.
posted by zamboni at 12:25 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]

National politics and state politics are different.

I used to live in New York and now live in equally blue California. On a national level, I want A Democrat, Basically Any Democrat to be the President. But I have other priorities for who I'd rather see as governor, where the playing field is different. I know that California and New York have the potential to elect progressive governors, and in a gubernatorial race I'm going to support the candidate that most closely resembles my specific take on the issues, especially where it comes to domestic/state-specific policies. While, in a Presidential race, I might be more tempted to hedge my bets on the more electable candidate or the candidate I think would do a better job in the specific role of President.

I can definitely see that people who wanted Zephyr Teachout to be their governor may not particularly want Bernie Sanders to be their president. It's not the same job, they're different people, and the bottom line is that folks can vote for who they like. Because people didn't do what you would do, or what you think people "would" do, doesn't mean anything in particular. I'd have thought Southern voters would resonate more with Cruz than Trump, but they didn't, so, OK.
posted by Sara C. at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2016 [9 favorites]

Most voters really do not choose based on issues. Few voters are willing to examine an issue in any depth, usually because they don't want their existing opinons to be challenged.

Broad agendas like campaign finance reform won't be realized without fundamental cultural changes reflected in legislatures and the courts.
posted by justcorbly at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Non-presidential-year elections get a strange mix of voters -- mostly the Vote Every Time people, but a large contingent of True Believers for particular candidates who don't really stand much of a chance in that particular election. Teachout was running against a sitting governor, and there was no U.S. Senate election to draw out more people. So fewer than 600,000 people voted in the Democratic primary, and a lot of them were there specifically to vote for Teachout as a protest vote against Cuomo. Many (if not most) of those voters knew that she didn't really stand a chance (she outdrew the polls by 8 points and still got beat by nearly 30).

In contrast, the presidential primary featured a much more consequential choice. This was a higher-profile race than the 2014 gubernatorial primary. There were more than three times as many voters this week. I'd bet that a large number of those Teachout voters probably did go for Sanders, but they were swamped by Clinton voters who just didn't bother voting for Cuomo in 2014 because they knew he was going to win anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Nate Cohn of the NYT is asking the same question on Twitter so maybe keep an eye on the responses he gets?
posted by dismas at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2016

She definitely picked up a lot of the not-Cuomo vote. There is a general view that Albany=hopelessly corrupt among NY voters. A Quinnipiac poll from 2015 found: "All elected officials in Albany should be voted out of office so new officials can start with a clean slate, [all] voters say 55 - 28 percent. No party, gender, age or regional group thinks New York State elected officials are capable of ending political corruption in Albany."

This doesn't necessarily correlate with the view that Clinton or the national DNC/politics are also hopelessly corrupt. Also, a lot of folks liked Wu as much as (or more than) they liked Teachout, and, unlike during the 2014 race, issues like net neutrality weren't prominent in the presidential campaign (not to mention Wu was a Columbia prof, so the UWS was more or less his home district). On the UWS, Clinton also likely picked up the block of voters who went for Christine Quinn (the more "pro-business" candidate) for mayor in 2013 (Clinton briefly discusses Quinn's campaign in this Vogue piece). It must also be noted that Teachout and Clinton are both women; this matters to many people.

The NY results, while overall in line with the polling, are really interesting when juxtaposed against recent state and local races or the 2008 primary results; if you find any interesting links discussing this please post them in the latest election thread on the Blue because I'm really interested in reading more!
posted by melissasaurus at 3:50 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

In conversations with my friends and neighbors, there's a sense that there's been a marked decrease in the quality of governance since DiBlasio became mayor.

Yes, I would absolutely agree with this. In 2014 when folks were voting for Teachout, DiBlasio wasn't yet widely seen as a disappointment. He definitely is seen as a disappointment among pretty much everyone I know now. For those of us who have been on the left fringe of the party for a long time, we're used to the disappointment. But I have talked to a number of people for whom DiBlasio was sort of their sticking-the-toe-in-the-water test with a lefty candidate, and they think it backfired - and not for failing to meet certain lefty campaign promises like removing horse carriages but because of things like MTA service taking a nosedive (for the record, my round trip commute time doubled under DiBlasio -- many people also blame Cuomo for this). DiBlasio's endorsement of Clinton was key I think --in some ways it was an acknowledgement of his shortcomings since taking office. It allowed space for people to make the more risk-averse choice without feeling like they were abandoning the idea of an outsider candidate.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:12 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think this question presupposes the position that Clinton is not a progressive choice.

But many Clinton supporters, myself included, don't see her as any less progressive than Sanders. On the topic of campaign finance reform she has, for example, made overturning Citizens United one of her core talking points since before she announced her candidacy.

Alternately it may presuppose an insider/outsider dichotomy between Clinton and Sanders, but many Clinton supporters do not see Sanders' 20+ years in congress as a badge of outsiderness.

Of course I cannot know what is in the mind of these particular voters, but as somebody who lived in Park Slope until a few years ago and would probably have voted the way they did this year, that's my best guess.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 7:46 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

"Tax the rich and crush Wall Street" isn't a winning theme among white Democrats in those neighborhoods (no one is richer or more Wall Street dependent than they are) and Sanders simply couldn't break Clinton's hold on black and Hispanics who live in the housing projects in those neighborhood's boundaries (maybe not GV but PS and UWS).
posted by MattD at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2016

« Older Help keep the sun off of my giant head.   |   They don't pick up alien signals. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.