New Poll in Hotly Contested Race for Westchester County Executive: Candidates Locked in Statistical Dead Heat Taxes Top Priority ‘Trump Effect’ Matters

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New Poll in Hotly Contested Race for Westchester County Executive: Candidates Locked in Statistical Dead Heat Taxes Top Priority ‘Trump Effect’ Matters

November 03, 2017 - 07:02

Robert P. Astorino

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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- In the only public poll conducted for one of the most closely watched races this season, incumbent Republican Rob Astorino and Democrat George Latimer are locked in a statistical tie for Westchester County executive.

In a just-released RNN and The Journal News/ poll, 51% of respondents say they would support Latimer and 49% would vote for Astorino if the election were held today.


Property taxes remain at the top of voters’ minds in Westchester County. More than four out of 10 (42%) cite property taxes as the most important issue as they head to the polls. Among them, almost three quarters (71%) said they will vote for Astorino, compared with just 21% who are supporting Latimer.


Surprisingly, only 4% said the candidates’ personal issues – a hot topic in this race – will impact their vote.


This race has captured the attention of the nation in an off-year election in large part because Astorino is seeking a third term in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 48% to 27%. Despite the party imbalance, only two Democrats have been elected to the seat since its inception in the mid-1930s.

For these reasons, the County Executive race – like this year’s election for Governor of Virginia – is seen as a bellwether in regard to whether the impact of the 2016 election and the “Trump effect” will reverberate down to state and local levels.

The RNN/Journal News poll found the “Trump effect” is real in Westchester – almost half of respondents, 44%, say the Trump administration is a factor in how they will vote.

Of those who say President Trump is a factor, almost three quarters (71%) say they will support the Democrat, George Latimer, while 29% say they will support the Republican, Rob Astorino.


Following property taxes, 16% said the most important issue is gun shows at the Westchester County Center, 12% said jobs and the economy, and 9% cited affordable housing.


Voters are almost evenly split when it comes to the direction Westchester is headed in, with slightly more than half saying they are dissatisfied (53%) and almost half saying they are satisfied (47%). 


AppliedTechonomics Research (ATR) conducted this snap survey from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1, 2017 throughout Westchester County. Responses are reported for 675 registered voters, more than 92% of whom self-identified as likely to vote, with a margin of sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points.

SURVEY RESULTS – at a glance

Likely to vote?

Response Frequency Percent
Yes 627 93%
No/Not Sure 48 7%

Satisfied/dissatisfied with direction Westchester County is headed in?

Response Frequency Percent (including “unsure”) Percent (excluding “unsure”)
Satisfied 274 41% 47%
Dissatisfied 314 47% 53%
Unsure 87 13% ----

Most important issue impacting vote

Response Frequency Percent (including “other”) Percent (excluding “other”)
Property Taxes 286 42% 47%
Jobs/Economy 79 12% 13%
Affordable Housing 61 9% 10%
Closing Indian Point 43 6% 7%
Gun shows Westchester County Center 108 16% 18%
Candidates’ Personal Issues 28 4% 5%
Other 70 10% -----

Did the Trump Administration have an impact on your vote?

Response Frequency Percent (including “unsure) Percent (excluding “unsure”)
Yes 294 44% 48%
No 318 47% 52%
Unsure 63 9% -----

Who support in election?

Response Frequency Percent (including “other”) Percent (excluding “other”)
Astorino 293 43% 49%
Latimer 307 46% 51%
Other 75 11% -----