New York Exit Poll Results: Victories in the Empire State Put Front-runners Back on Track

Lessons Learned from the New York Primary 0:46

Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both coasted to victory in Tuesday’s New York presidential primary, dealing a severe blow to challengers’ efforts to blunt their momentum toward winning their parties’ nominations.

According to the NBC News Exit Poll, both Clinton and Trump assembled their comfortable wins by maintaining their support among key groups of voters who have supported them throughout the 2016 nomination season, while attracting voters who have given them trouble in the past.

Trump’s impressive New York win—in which he easily cleared 50 percent of the vote statewide—was marked by his usual strength among working-class white voters (he won 65 percent of whites without a college degree). He did remarkably well among those supporting his controversial proposals such as banning immigration by Muslims who are not U.S. citizens (72 percent of whom went for Trump). And it was virtually no contest among those who want an outsider as the next president (among whom Trump won 85 percent).

But in New York, Trump also did just fine among voters who have been lukewarm toward his candidacy in the past, including Republicans with a post-graduate degree (Trump won 51 percent of their votes), those with incomes of $100,000 or more (64 percent) and even among Republicans who think the economy is helped by Wall Street, which has at times as been in the sights of Trump’s attacks (61 percent). Performance like this left rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz scrounging for votes as they battled to avoid a last-place finish—a humbling position that ultimately went to Cruz.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s strong victory—a double-digit margin—was nearly as impressive as Trump’s in its breadth. As in previous contests, she overpowered rival Bernie Sanders among African-Americans (beating him 75 percent to 25 percent) and Hispanics (64 percent to 36 percent). She repeated her solid performance among older voters, winning those aged 65 and over by a 73 percent to 27 percent margin, and she dominated among Democratic women, 63 percent to 37 percent.

But what made Clinton’s win so big was her ability to keep Sanders from building up large leads among some of his usual core supporters. For sure, Sanders achieved an overwhelming win among the state’s youngest Democrats: 81 percent of those under age 25 voted for him. But Clinton held her own among those just a bit older, losing 53 percent to 47 percent among voters aged 25 to 29, and she even edged out Sanders among those aged 30 to 39. And white Democrats—who have broken decisively for Sanders in many previous contests—split their votes between the two candidates today down the middle.

Looking forward to the near future, Clinton and Trump would seem to be on solid ground. The five primaries scheduled for next Tuesday are located in Northeastern states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—that all look much more similar to New York than places that have given the frontrunners trouble in the past.