After a contentious debate in Brooklyn last week, the Democratic candidates are working hard to position themselves with key voting blocs in the New York primary. National poll results have remained steady with half of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters supporting Hillary Clinton and 43 percent supporting Bernie Sanders, according to the latest from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll conducted online from April 11 to April 17 of 13,020 adults aged 18 and over.
The New York primary is closed, which means voters must have been registered as Democrat or Republican by March 25 – a full month before Tuesday’s contests -- in order to cast a vote in that party’s primary. Clinton has done well in earlier closed primary contests during this election season, which suggests she has an advantage heading into Tuesday’s race in New York.
Those registered as independent or unaffiliated were required to change their affiliation before the contest in order to participate. Sanders—who has done very well among independents who lean toward the Democratic Party—may face a disadvantage Tuesday if registered Democrats turn out to vote in high numbers and independents were unable to change their affiliation before the deadline.
In the 2008 New York Democratic primary, in which Clinton defeated now-President Barrack Obama, nearly six in 10 voters were women, 16 percent were black and 10 percent were Hispanic, according to NBC News Exit Poll results. As we have seen in several previous contests in this primary season, race plays a key factor in determining which candidate will do well.
According to data from the latest tracking poll, Clinton and Sanders are still very competitive among white voters, but Clinton has done better with African-American voters by a large margin—59 percent to 27 percent. The story is less clear among Hispanic voters, however. Sanders bests Clinton by 8 points among Hispanics—51 percent to 43 percent. The non-white vote will be important in New York with approximately a quarter of the primary electorate expected to be non-white.
In New York in 2008, white women made up 40 percent of the electorate. In past contests, women have not necessarily consolidated their support around Clinton, rather, this group fractures by age and race. Results from our national poll show that overall, women favor Clinton over Sanders by 13 points—53 percent to 40 percent.
Among white women, this margin falls just slightly to 10 points and among minority women, this margin widens to 18 points.
If a similar number of women turn out Tuesday night as did in New York’s Democratic primary in 2008, Clinton may have an additional advantage over Sanders.
As Tuesday will be a pivotal moment in the race to the Democratic nomination, the Sanders’ campaign hopes to ride the wave of momentum he has enjoyed for the past string of victories this month. Clinton may benefit, however, from New York’s closed primary format and favorability among minority voters.
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online April 11 through April 17, 2016 among a national sample of 13,020 adults aged 18 and over, including 11,498 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points. For full results and methodology for this weekly tracking poll, please click here.