Those two elections might offer hope to both of the likely 2016 candidates. Hillary Clinton wouldn't mind replicating her husband's eventual victory, and Donald Trump often argues that he'll replicate Reagan's path to victory.
A new survey suggests that Clinton's dream is closer to being realized in the Empire State. Quinnipiac University found Clinton with a 12-point lead in New York, a number that would be the smallest margin of victory in the state for a Democrat since 1988. Clinton holds that lead with only 47 percent of the vote, versus Trump's 35 percent. No Republican has gotten 35 percent of the vote in New York since ... well, Mitt Romney in 2012. If Trump picks up a small part of the rest of that 18 percent of the electorate, he could easily do better than the last five Republicans to compete in the state.
What's particularly interesting about the Quinnipiac poll though is that it also polled on the Senate race in the state. In that contest, Sen. Charles E. Schumer has a huge lead over Republican Wendy Long. Clinton's up 12; Schumer's up 32. Schumer leads with every demographic Quinnipiac identified, except Republicans, while Clinton also trails Trump with men and voters who live anywhere besides New York City.
New York is a very Democrat-friendly state, and Schumer's reaping the rewards far more than Clinton. Why the big difference?
One obvious reason is the candidates. Schumer is much-better-liked than Clinton and running against someone who is essentially unknown. Schumer has a net favorability rating -- those who view him positively minus those who view him negatively -- of plus-32. His opponent has a net favorability of plus-8, but three-quarters of New Yorkers don't know enough about her to have an opinion.
Clinton, on the other hand, is in the same boat as Trump: disliked on net (though not as much) and well-known enough for people to have that opinion.
She suffers from another quirk of fate relative to past Democratic candidates: Her Republican opponent is from New York state. She represented the state in the Senate for eight years, of course, but that's blunted a bit by Trump's sharing home-field advantage.
Is New York in play for Trump, as he loves to claim? The answer to that is still almost certainly no. Clinton has to get 3 of those 18 percentage points to hit 50 percent. Trump needs 15 percent -- and the votes of an awful lot of Democrats. Among Democrats, Clinton still leads by 72 points.
But what she wouldn't give to be running against a Wendy Long -- and to be as well-liked as Charles Schumer.