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Poll shows Sanders closing on Clinton as primary approaches

A new poll finds that Bernie Sanders has narrowed the gap with Hillary Clinton in the New York Presidential primary race, but Clinton leads in key voting regions.
 The Siena College poll finds Clinton ten points ahead of Sanders, at 52 percent to 42 percent, but Clinton is ahead in voter rich New York City and the surrounding suburbs. The two are even in upstate, but only around  one quarter of total Democratic voters live there. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says there’s also an age divide between the two candidates, with Clinton is leading among older voters, and Sanders ahead among younger voters.  
 “The real question is do those young voters feel the Bern enough to come out and actually vote on Tuesday?,” said Greenberg . “If they do, that could make this race much closer.”
 The former US Senator from New York and former Secretary of State is also ahead with African American and Latino voters, but Clinton and Sanders are near even with white voters.
Greenberg says much will depend on voter turn out on Tuesday. While Sanders has the support of the state’s left leaning Working Families Party, Clinton will have get out the vote help from many of the major unions.
 “This is going to be a ground game,” Greenberg said.  
 On the Republican side, Candidate Donald Trump is not known for his ground game and strong get out the vote efforts. He’s relied more heavily on the media and attendance at his large rallies to stimulate voters.
The poll finds Donald Trump has a strong lead, though, with the support of half of all New York’s GOP voters. John Kasich and Ted Cruz are running more than 20 points behind, at 27 percent and 17 percent.
 In the Republican primary, the demographics are reversed, with more than half of the GOP voters living upstate.
 Greenberg says the New York primary is not a winner take all contest, and delegates will be chosen by the state’s congressional districts. In the Republican contest, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent in a congressional district, they get all the delegates in that district. But, if they are below half of the votes, then other candidates are awarded delegates proportionately. Greenberg says that creates a much more competitive race, if Kasich or Cruz can keep Trump below 50 percent in a congressional district.
 “It’s all about the delegates,” said Greenberg, who said Trump has a “very difficult road” to reaching 1,237 delegates needed  to win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
 Depending on the outcome of New York’s primary, the path to an uncontested convention could become even harder for Trump.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.