News & Politics

Primary Day’s All About the Spread


Since people in places like Haiti and the DRC line up for hours in the hot sun to vote despite the risk of political violence, there’s no excuse for not casting a ballot in today’s primary election.

That said, this year’s races are unusually lacking in suspense. With the exceptions of the 11th Congressional District (Andrews v. Clarke v. Owens v. Yassky) and the 25th district senate seat (veteran Marty Connor versus Ken Diamondstone), the frontrunners are way, way, way in front. According to the latest Marist poll, the closest statewide race is the Democratic primary for Attorney General, in which Mark Green trails Andrew Cuomo by a mere 22 points.

But if you’re hungry for a little more drama to keep you interested in this year’s races, don’t despair. Thanks to the good people in Las Vegas, there’s a method for making even the dullest contest more exciting: the spread, or in political terms, the margin of victory. On Primary Day 2006, in many cases, the race is not about who wins or loses, but by how much. If an underdog candidate can win a higher percentage of the vote than all the polls indicate, then he or she has beat the spread. That losing candidate can beam with pride, and those who bet on him or her can bask in the glory of having pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat.

The spread isn’t just for amusement, however. If Eliot Spitzer enjoys only a 10-point win over Tom Suozzi, or if Hillary Clinton fails to absolutely, totally crush Jonathan Tasini, it will dent the aura of invincibility from which both frontrunners benefit in the eyes of the media and the donor community.

So, make your picks. There’s plenty of time: Polls are open until 9 p.m. Here are the spreads in today’s races, with the favorite listed first, then the spread, then the underdog:

  • DEMOCRAT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Cuomo (-22) v. Green
  • DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR: Spitzer (-65) v. Suozzi
  • DEMOCRAT U.S. SENATOR: Clinton (-78) v. Tasini
  • REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATOR : Spencer (-23) v. McFarland


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