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Democratic strategist sounds warning for Biden after poll shows single-digit lead over Trump in New York

A new Siena College poll that shows President Biden with an eight percentage point lead over former President Trump should set off alarm bells for Democrats, a veteran strategist warns.

A new poll that shows former President Trump down by only single digits to President Biden in deep blue New York should set off alarm bells, according to longtime Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. 

“What it tells you is that people are generally dissatisfied,” Sheinkopf told Fox News Digital in an interview Friday. “We’re now under five months away from the election. They’re not happy about taxes. They’re not happy about crime. They’re not happy about the state of disorder. And generally, when there is disorder, the out party tends to benefit, whether it be Republicans or Democrats.” 

Sheinkopf, who has worked on more than 700 political campaigns, said the results from the recent Siena College poll that showed an eight percentage-point spread between Biden and Trump in New York, 47%-39%, point to how a significant number of voters dislike both candidates.


“People are not worried about the former president’s convictions,” he said of Trump, who was found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last month in New York court. 

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“What they’re worried about is the present set of circumstances. They’re not happy about Trump. Frankly, if you look at the ‘hating them both’ kind of grouping, which appears in polls all the time, they’re not happy about Biden. They don’t know what to do, so they’re not making a decision. That’s why they’re locked in the center in so many places, and they’re locked in close numbers when they shouldn’t be in states that Biden should be winning handily.” 

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If the election results in November are anywhere close to the snapshot in the Siena College poll, it would be a historic showing for a GOP presidential candidate in New York and a sign of deep trouble for Biden, who won the state by 23 points in 2020.

“While Biden maintains the support of three-quarters of Democrats, Trump has support from 85% of Republicans and leads Biden 45%-28% with independents,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. 

“A gender gap has reopened as men support Trump 46%-42% and women favor Biden 51%-33%. White voters are evenly divided. And while Biden has a commanding lead with non-White voters, Trump garners support from 29% of Black and 26% of Latino voters,” he added.

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The survey of registered voters in New York showed Biden’s job approval rating at 45% approve to 53% disapprove, and his favorability underwater at 42% favorable to 53% unfavorable, his lowest numbers yet recorded by Siena College. 

While the numbers aren’t good for Biden, they’re even lower for Trump, a native New Yorker. The former president stands at 37% favorable and 59% unfavorable, according to the survey.

Even so, the closer-than-expected gap between a Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger echoes the surprisingly strong showing by New York Republicans in 2022’s gubernatorial contest, when Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul defeated former GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin by just 6.4 percentage points, the closest margin since 1994. 

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Zeldin told Fox News Digital that the Siena College poll is consistent with other recent polls that show Biden trending down in the Empire State. An Emerson College/The Hill/PIX11 poll last month showed Biden with just a seven percentage-point lead over Trump, 48%-41%. 

“If New York is polling this close, that bodes well for polling in other states that have a much closer party registration between Republicans and Democrats,” Zeldin said.

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He said issues that New Yorkers care about, including immigration and the economy, have trended to the right since he ran for governor. 

“The border crisis was in the top three issues for many New Yorkers who now have that issue as their number one issue. [New York City Mayor] Eric Adams’ numbers are worse. Kathy Hochul’s numbers are worse. Joe Biden’s numbers are worse. So as far as the Democratic brand and profile of Democratic elected officials, that is also very helpful for the Trump campaign,” said Zeldin. 

But could New York really be in play for Trump? The presumptive Republican nominee has insisted he will win the state, but Sheinkopf remains skeptical.

“Trump has to somehow convince people that he’s not reckless. And Biden has to somehow convince people that he steered the ship well, that the economy isn’t as bad as people might think. In fact, it’s really not. Inflation is down, jobs are up, but people feel insecure,” he said. 

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Biden and Trump will each have the opportunity to make their respective cases at the CNN Presidential Debate in Atlanta on Thursday. Sheinkopf said that for Biden to perform well, he will need to speak clearly and appear strong. 

“Every word that he says will be parsed. He is the President of the United States, the most powerful man on the planet, versus Trump, who was the most powerful man on the planet, who somehow continues to function, raising lots of money and being credible even though he’s a convicted felon. 

“We’ve never had anything like this before. [If] the president can’t show strength, it won’t matter whether Trump’s been a convicted felon or not. That is what’s so extraordinary.” 

Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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