5 Storylines to Watch in the New York Primary

New Yorkers from both political parties are voting today.

ByABC News
April 19, 2016, 10:31 AM

— -- New York is the star of the presidential election today as it holds both Democratic and Republican primaries.

The Empire State has 247 Democratic delegates and 95 Republican delegates up for grabs, meaning that the fight could be extremely worthwhile as the candidates try to reach the minimum number of delegates required to secure their respective nominations.

In addition to the big-number victories at stake, there has also been a two-week gap in the presidential calendar since the last primary, adding to the drama of today's events.

Here are five story lines to watch as we await the results:

1. The Gap Between Clinton and Sanders

Polling in New York suggests that Sen. Bernie Sanders has been slowly creeping up on Hillary Clinton's lead.

In a NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released on April 11, Clinton was leading by 14 points, but in the three polls that followed the next day, Clinton's lead varied from 10 to 13 points.

"I think it will be close," ABC News political analyst Matt Dowd said. "I think there's a possibility based on turnout that he could do it."

One factor that could be in her favor is that New York is a closed primary, meaning that only people registered with the Democratic Party are able to vote in today's primary.

"I think the fact that it's a closed primary has given her an advantage here," Dowd said, adding the Sanders has "always done better with open primaries," where voters aren't required to register with a party ahead of time.

The deadline in New York to switch party affiliation for this primary was Oct. 9, 2015. The Democrats aren't the only ones impacted by that deadline, as two of Donald Trump's children missed the deadline and are unable to vote for their father.

2. Hometown Fight

This year's primary is particularly unusual because three of the five presidential candidates have long-held ties to the state, each calling the state "home" in some way.

Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, and Clinton has lived in the state since she and her husband left the White House in 2000. She went on to represent the state as one of its senators for eight years.

Clinton's legal residence remains her home in Chappaqua, a hamlet outside of New York City.

That said, Trump is the only one of the three who was born in the state and has lived there ever since.

The real-estate mogul also happens to own a number of properties throughout New York City, which undoubtedly helps him in terms of name recognition.

3. Counting Delegates Closely

There is a chance that Trump could win in a landslide, taking all of the state's 95 delegates.

The Republican delegates in New York are awarded proportionally for any candidate who receives at least 20 percent of the vote. But if a candidate gets the majority of the vote (more than 50 percent) in each individual congressional district, he will take all three delegates allotted to that congressional district. So if Trump gets more than 50 percent of the vote in each of the state's 27 congressional districts, he will take all 81 delegates.

On top of that, the remaining 14 at-large delegates are awarded based on the state totals, so if Trump wins a popular majority in the state, he gets those as well, leaving his rivals Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich with no delegates at all.

The delegates that Trump wins today will impact the percentage of the vote that he and the other candidates will have to win in order to reach the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the Republican nomination.

4. Kasich's Possible Second Coming

While it is still mathematically impossible for Kasich to earn enough delegates in the remaining states to reach the magic number of 1,237, a non-win in New York could still be considered a win to his team.

In many of the recent states, Kasich has been an automatic third-place finisher, but four of the five most recent polls in New York have the Ohio governor finishing ahead of his Texas rival.

"Kasich has a real shot of coming second," Dowd said, noting that such a finish would give Kasich "a better argument going forward that people should pay attention to him."

5. Possible Bellwether for Coming Primaries

While much of the early primary calendar was focused on the South and Midwest, today's primary shows a shift towards the Northeast.

Next week, there are primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Beyond that, there is still New Jersey left, as the Garden State doesn't vote until June, meaning that the region will stay relevant for the coming weeks and months.