It’s no secret that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have struggled with high unfavorability amongst voters.
But in an election year affecting state legislature and congressional seats as well, local parties are working to keep voters coming to the polls anyway.
Recent Siena Research polls show New York will likely remain a blue state.
Now, pollsters are asking how the parties’ unfavorable candidates are going to affect other races on the ballot.
According to Siena pollster Steve Greenberg, by a 2-1 margin, New York State voters say that Donald Trump is going to hurt Republican chances of holding on to the Senate.
Similarly, voters think Hillary Clinton will help the Democrats, 64 percent to 29 percent.
That’s something local party leaders and candidates are paying attention to – and it’s affecting their game plans.
“This is a different type of year, one like we’ve never seen before,” said Monroe County Republican Committee Chair Bill Reilich. “There are things occurring at the top of the ticket, you’ve got two candidates with high negatives. That’s not something you normally desire in a candidate.”
“We’re not going to wait for TV ads or the end of the year to try to ride the coat tails of the top of our ticket,” Monroe County Democratic Committee Chair Jaime Romeo said. “We’re putting the ground game out there to make sure we have boots on the ground talking to voters.”
And with plenty of time remaining before November, Democrats and Republicans are hoping to shift focus and interest away from the national race to the local candidates.
“We’re all part of a political party for a basic philosophy,” Reilich said. “Does that mean we agree on 100 percent of the issues? No.”
Either way, pollsters say Democrats look to be in better shape than Republicans in New York, at least for now.
“While three-quarters of Democrats think that having Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket is going to help them, only 50 percent of the Republicans think that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket will help,” Greenberg said.