Its no surprise that the mainstream media is leading the public to believe Clinton has a substantial lead over Bernie Sanders in New York. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Its been proven that if people believe their candidate has no shot, they are less likely to make it to the polls, feeling that their vote doesn’t matter. Not to mention it has also been proven that people routinely vote for the front runner. Yes, there have been a few polls showing Hillary has a substantial lead, some showing as much as a 17 point lead, but how accurate are these polls? Its common knowledge in this day and age that polls can be manipulated and skewed. An easy way to do this is only calling landlines. Seeing as the brunt of Hillary supporters are older homeowners this strategy is effective. Very few millennials have landlines, and since Sanders has won an estimated 300,000 more youth votes than Hillary and Trump COMBINED, sticking to landlines works in Hillary’s favor. Another common practice is only polling “likely voters” which usually means anyone who voted in the past two election cycles. Again, this eliminates an enormous chunk of Bernie’s base. Newly registered voters, and people who were checked out of politics until Bernie recently gave them a reason to become engaged, are a huge part of his coalition.
Whether these polls were in fact relevant or not, there have been several new developments this past week, that could dramatically shift New York in Bernie’s favor. Across the country, the grassroots participation has sky rocketed. As a Democratic voter, the day that I get the most calls from potential volunteers looking to get involved is in fact the day after their primary or caucus. Especially in states that lost, Bernie supporters do not see their work as done even after their state has voted, as they continue to host phonebanks and make calls for the campaign using the Bernie Sanders phone banking feature on his website. Other states who haven’t voted have been fueling the movement, mainly California, which is making five times the amount of calls as any other state according to berniepb.com, an online site that tracks calls per state in real time. Through the grassroots efforts in all of these states, the Bernie Sanders campaign and exceeded their weekend call goal by 1 million calls, to a record breaking 3 million calls into New York Alone over the weekend. As a registered New York Democrat, I have recieved 4 calls and 8 texts for Sanders volunteers in the last two weeks.
Aside from calls alone, there have been other signals that New Yorkers are feeling the Bern. The grassroots efforts in New York have exceeded expectations. Syracuse, NY has been organizing events since their first Fuel The Bern concert in November. Since then, in addition to potlucks, phonebanks, and canvassing efforts, the grassroots organizers have coordinated several other bands for Bernie events, and even a March for Bernie in which supporters took to the streets to spread the word, making local news. The same phenomena has been having in other cities all across New York State, including Ithaca, which ranks 8th on the list of zip codes donating the most to the Bernie campaign.
What is even more impressive is the attendance at Bernie’s rallies. In Buffalo, New York, the venue exceeded capacity at 7,000 people. 3,000 people waited outside in the rain, hoping to get a glimpse of their future president. As usual, Bernie gave an impromptu speech in the rain to the overflow crowd, while the crowd inside waited patiently, appreciative that their companions outside could hear Bernie speak as well. Bernie filled Washington Square in New York City with 27,000 supporters on a rainy night. Even a march that was organized entirely by volunteers was packed with thousands of Bernie supporters, despite not being covered in any mainstream news outlets.
The New York primary is tomorrow, April 19th. In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, polls open at 6am – close at 9pm. In all other counties, polls open at 12 noon and close at 9pm. If the momentum holds up, and turnout is high, Bernie will win the state.