Jobless voters key to Trump’s big New York win

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump greets the crowd after speaking during a campaign event at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump greets the crowd after speaking during a campaign event at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY.

Jobless New York state Republicans helped give Donald Trump a big win Tuesday in his near sweep of the state, based on a CNBC analysis of county-level primary voting data.

The victory extends Trump's pattern of big wins in counties with jobless rates higher than the national average.

With jobless rates above the nation average in 46 of the state's 62 counties, New York voters gave Trump's campaign for the party's presidential nomination a big boost.

As of early Wednesday, Trump had 61 percent of the statewide GOP vote to 25 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 12 percent to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to NBC News.

The victory added 88 of the state's 95 delegates to Trump's count, bringing his total to 844 of the 237 needed for the Republican nomination. Cruz now has 559 and Kasich picked up three delegates to bring his total to 146.

Trump delivered a confident victory speech, celebrating his success and discounting his rivals' chances.

"We're going to end at a very high level and get a lot more delegates than anybody projected, even in their wildest imagination," the real estate tycoon in of his Tuesday night victory speech.

To gauge how well Trump is faring with voters looking for work CNBC looked at GOP primary results in more than 2200 counties in the states that have voted so far. (County-level data was not available for all states that have voted so far.) Of those counties, more than 1,400 had jobless rates above the national average of 5 percent.

Trump was the winner in about three-fourths of the counties with higher-than-average unemployment. Cruz has won about 20 percent of those counties, while Kasich has won just 2 percent of them.

Trump was counting on a home state advantage to help him regain his momentum against Cruz in New York City, where Trump's name is emblazoned on office towers, apartment buildings and hotels. But Manhattan, the lone county that Trump lost, went to Kasich.

Trump had been counting on strong support upstate where, he has said, "I'm like the most popular person that's ever lived."

Despite a statewide jobless rate of 4.8 percent, New York's job market has recovered unevenly across the Empire state. In Tompkins County, home of Ithaca-based Cornell University, the jobless rate is a statewide low of just 3.7 percent. That compares with 8.1. percent in rural Hamilton County, located within Adirondack state park.

New York City's jobless rate also ranges from a low of 5.1 percent in Manhattan to 8.1 percent in the Bronx.

Trump had a solid lead in statewide polls heading into the New York primary. But raw vote totals didn't tell the whole story, thanks to New York's complex formula for allocating GOP delegates.

Of the 95 delegates chosen to go to the nominating convention, 14 of them were elected based on statewide results. To win them all, a candidate had to collect more than half the total votes cast. If no one won half the total, those "at-large" delegates would be split among candidates winning more than 20 percent of the vote.

The remaining 81 delegates were assigned based on tallies in each of the state's 27 congressional districts. To win all three, a candidate had to win half the votes in that district. Otherwise, the candidate with the most votes over 20 percent won two delegates and the next highest tally got one.

In the end, Trump's solid margin of victory helped him win the majority of the state's delegates.

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