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9/28: The New York Ballot in 2010

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9/28: The New York Ballot in 2010

Despite calls to replace all incumbents regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans, Political Analyst Jay Dedapper thinks most of New York’s incumbents will hold onto their seats. And, he tells the Marist Poll’s John Sparks that’s because he believes voter turnout will be low in the upcoming midterm elections.

Jay DeDapper

Jay DeDapper

Listen to Part 1 of the Interview:

John Sparks
Jay, the last time we spoke, you told me New Yorkers were not all that excited about races coming up on the November ballot.  Since then, however, the Tea Party scored a couple more primary victories, and a New York Times‘ poll recently reported that voters across the country, they said they’re disenchanted with all incumbents regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republicans.  Do you still feel that New York voters are rather lukewarm about these upcoming races?

Jay DeDapper
Yeah, I do.  I think there’s the anger and the frustration that voters say they feel in polls actually hasn’t really showed up at the polls. It’s showed up in terms of the number of people who do come to the polls and vote, but take a look at that race in Delaware, for instance, with Christine O’Donnell, and here’s someone who got a big victory over a moderate Republican that was supported by the party structure.  But, look at the number of people who turned out to vote. It was fewer than 25% of — or less than 25% of the Republican electorate.  So, yeah, people are frustrated and upset and angry. So far, there hasn’t been a lot of evidence that mass numbers of people are so upset and angry that they’re actually going to bother to go to the polls and do anything about it, at least not in primaries.  I think the situation in New York is exacerbated by the fact that there’s such a large Democratic registration advantage, and at least right now the premier race, the marquee race, which is for governor, is headlined by a guy, Andrew Cuomo, who does not really  —  there’s not a lot of animosity towards him among independents.  Republicans may not like him because his Cuomo, but independents don’t really seem to dislike Andrew Cuomo all that much, and they are the only ones who could swing this race into something that would be considered competitive, I think.

John Sparks
So, Andrew Cuomo in the governor’s race, Paladino really doesn’t have a shot since he knocked off Lazio?

Jay DeDapper
Well, again, you have to look at the registration advantage the Democrats have in the state, and for a Republican to win in New York, any statewide office, in the last ten years or so, it hasn’t happened, and it hasn’t happened because that registration advantage is so large.  When it’s happened in the past, even when the Democrats have held a big registration advantage, it happened at the end of Cuomo, for instance, the last Cuomo when he was running for a fourth term, and George Pataki ran as kind of an outsider and an independent.  In this case, Andrew Cuomo, the son of Mario Cuomo, is not running for a fourth term.  He’s running as an outsider.  He’s running as the guy who could come in and fix Albany. There is no incumbent that’s running, so I don’t think that the Republicans have the advantage that they have when they’re running against incumbent Democrats who have frankly been in office too long.  That’s not the case in this case, and it’s going to — it would take a overwhelming turnout among independents and Republicans and for Democrats to simply stay home, lots and lots of Democrats to stay home, to get Paladino much of a chance, and that doesn’t even accept the fact that Republicans are pretty split about him winning.

Listen to Part 2:

John Sparks
And, so I don’t suppose Chuck Schumer’s staying awake at night worrying about Jay Townsend these days?

Jay DeDapper
Yeah, I mean there are on top of the gubernatorial race, there are two Senate races. Chuck Schumer is one of them, and Kirsten Gillibrand is the second.  So, both U.S. Senate seats are up.  Chuck Schumer is clearly the one that doesn’t have anything to worry about because he still has, among all the politicians in New York that are in office and running for re-election, he’s the one who has the highest rating of favorability.  It’s not as high as it once was, but as you said at the very beginning, it doesn’t really matter what party you’re in, if you’re an incumbent, people are angry.

John Sparks
You know, Gillibrand’s an interesting study I think.  At one time there were mixed reviews even among Democrats when she was appointed.  What sense do you get now?  Is there any chance that her opponent can surprise her?

Jay DeDapper
I think there’s more of a chance there than there is that Paladino’s going to surprise Cuomo or Jay Townsend’s going to surprise Chuck Schumer.  There doesn’t… She has failed over the course of her term — her time in office, and remember, she replaced Hillary Clinton when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. And as you alluded to, there was a lot of consternation among Democrats that the governor at the time, David Paterson, appointed her as opposed to appointing someone else, like Caroline Kennedy. Kirsten Gillibrand came in with that problem of Democrats feeling that she wasn’t the best — many Democrats feeling she wasn’t the best candidate, and I don’t think she’s done a lot in the last two years. I think she’s tried, but I don’t think she’s made a lot of progress in convincing Democrats that she’s really the senator that they would pick if they really had their choice.  It’s not much of a choice.  I mean all of that being said, the Republican challenger that she’s facing is not well — particularly well-known, not particularly well-funded, and in a year like this when you’ve got a Cuomo and Schumer on the ballot, it seems unlikely to me that a Gillibrand is going to have enough trouble that she is going to be in danger of losing this seat.  But of all the major races, she’s the one because she has failed to really garner strong Democratic support.  I think she’s probably the one who faces the only real challenge.

John Sparks
And whoever wins this one will be up again three years from now.

Jay DeDapper
Yeah, well two years from now. Three years from now, but two years from Election Day…

John Sparks
True.

Jay DeDapper
Therefore, January.  Yeah, this is a strange race because she was appointed, and by New York State law, once you’re appointed to fill out the seat, you don’t actually fill out the entire time. You actually have to run in the next general election so that the voters get a chance to approve or disapprove of the appointment. But then you only fill out the term as it is legislatively laid out or constitutionally laid out, and Hillary Clinton’s term was supposed to end in 2012.  So Kirsten Gillibrand, should she win, will be running again in 2012.  So, there’s a lot of races for her.  But I suspect that with most  —  as with most incumbents, the longer that you — the more you’re able to get through tough races early on, the more — the better chances you have later on of fending off tough challengers and having tough races.

Listen to Part 3:

John Sparks
You know Charlie Rangel’s had his problems lately.  Do you think that that will sway voters in his congressional district this time?

Jay DeDapper
Wel, if that was going to happen, it was going to happen in the primary. He was running against Adam Clayton Powell IV. Remember, Charlie Rangel won his historic race back in the ’70s against Adam Clayton Powell’s father.  Adam Clayton Powell was a historic African American congressman.  Charlie Rangel ran as the new blood, the new breed, the new guy who was going to come in and shake things up.  Well, now he’s the old guy, the old guard, and Adam Clayton Powell IV didn’t come anywhere close to unseating him in the Democratic primary.  And let’s face it, in our Harlem, a Republican’s not going to win in Harlem. The district that Charlie Rangel is in is one of the most Democratic districts in the entire country. So, if you don’t beat him in the primary, he’s not going to lose the race.

John Sparks
Do you see any upsets in congressional races in New York?

Jay DeDapper
Mike McMahon on Staten Island. That’s a seat that has been Republican for many years.  Vito Fossella lost that or decided not to run for re-election in that seat after the scandal involving a mistress and a child.  Before that, Susan Molinari held that seat.  It’s been a Republican seat for a long time.  Mike McMahon won it in a tight election in an overwhelmingly Democratic year, 2008.  I would say that’s probably in the New York City area, the one where there’s the most risk to an incumbent, and in this case a Democrat. There’s some outside of the direct New York City area.  John Hall in the Hudson Valley who won in 2004, I believe, it may have been 2006.  He won in what was kind of a Democratic year. It must’ve been 2006.  That’s a district that has been Republican in the past.  It’s kind of a swing district, and I imagine he’s facing — I believe he’s facing a veteran, Iraq War veteran.  That could be a tough race as well.  And there’s some in Upstate New York, some congressional Democrats that won again in either 2006 or 2008, very strong Democratic years, in seats that have traditionally been kind of squishy, not very Democratic, a little bit more Republican, and all of them could face some problems. But in the New York City area, Mike McMahon, I think, is the only seat to really watch for an upset.

John Sparks
But, all in all for the most part, I take it that you see not very many upsets in, what, low to moderate turnout?

Jay DeDapper

Yeah.  There doesn’t seem to be the passion. And even again, this goes back to my original point. If you look at what happened in the Republican primary in New York, Paladino beat Lazio, Lazio being the kind of the standard candidate of the Republican Party, by a very large margin, but the number of people who turned out was not huge. It wasn’t like 50% of Republican voters turned out. The turnout was really quite low.  These are among allegedly very angry voters, the Republican voters, and they didn’t really turn out. I think that what you see in election years like what’s coming up, and we saw it in 1994, is that you have a very motivated portion of the electorate that turns out and can sway elections. I’m not denying that they can sway elections in dramatic fashion, but it’s not a majority. It’s not even a significant minority.  It’s a fairly small number of people who are really upset and really angry who bother to go to the polls, and they do make a difference in years like this. I think unfortunately apathy is the more common thing that you see in a year like this, voters that are just frustrated and angry or frustrated and angry, but angry in a way that doesn’t translate into action.

Listen to Part 4:

John Sparks
Jay, always a pleasure to talk politics with you.  Any other thoughts you’d like to share about the upcoming midterm election?

Jay DeDapper
I think it’s going to be really interesting to see if the people who have been driving the elections this year, and they’re not all Republicans and they’re not all Tea Party members, the people who have been driving elections all year all across the country have been people who are angry. Some of them are Democrats.  Some Democratic incumbents have lost in primaries.  It’ll be interesting to me that once you get to the general election, and everybody in the nations focused on this first major Election Day after Barack Obama became President.  And if Barack Obama throws some of his weight into this, as it looks like he’s going to, it’ll be really interesting to me to see if there’s kind of a counterweight to that anger, that anti-incumbent anger, that ends up supporting some incumbents (In many cases, that would be Democrats) and whether that’s enough to offset some of this anger that seems to be aimed at ousting incumbents, including many Democrats. I think the other thing to watch for, and everybody’s talked about it, but it’s fascinating to me, is — what is the role the Tea Party plays in the future of the GOP?  In Tea Party activists and in angry voters electing or putting on the ballot, excuse me, in primaries, people like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware — does that create a situation where the Republican Party in a general election is so out of the mainstream, is so filled with candidates who are so crazy that the party actually ends up blowing an incredible opportunity that’s been handed to them on a silver platter and fails to capitalize in a significant way on the intense voter dissatisfaction? That is something that I think is fascinating, and I think everybody’s looking at that. Everybody’s talking about, but that’s the big story, and I think will remain the big story all the way to Election Day.

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1 Comment

  1. Florence Levy

    November 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    You can’t blame the economy on the democrats nor present obama.
    In fact, I haven’t made so much money on the stock exchange in a long time.
    We are in a depression and that doesn’t go away that fast. This wasn’t obama’s doing. There are allot of prodigious “white folks out there and most of them are in the republican party. In fact they should rename themselves the” klu Klux Klan “I have always lived in the America called the “Melting pot”I have no idea where everyone else has been living.

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