New York 2nd District
Shortly after World War II, hundreds of thousands of New York City residents, many of them young veterans and their families, moved to detached suburban houses built on the former potato fields of central Long Island. Those in the first wave of postwar migration settled in Nassau County, and they included a cross-section of all but the poorest New Yorkers. About half were Catholic, a quarter Protestant, and a quarter Jewish. As Long Island developed its own employment base, another wave moved farther east into Suffolk County. This group was more Catholic, less Jewish, and more blue-collar. Ancestrally Democratic, these voters were culturally conservative, and in the 1970s and 1980s, they tended to vote Republican. Since then, voters in Suffolk County have joined the rest of the New York metro area in shunning the Republican Party as it has increasingly drifted to the right.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 2nd Congressional District of New York includes most of western Suffolk County, part of the town of Islip and a small portion of Nassau County—Plainview, Woodbury, and part of Jericho. For the most part, the 2nd is the humbler part of Long Island: farther east than most of the fashionable commuter suburbs, well south of the picturesque North Shore, not as far east as the ritzy Hamptons, and, aside from a handful of ferry-only resort towns on Fire Island, located inland from the southern shore. With some of the lowest-priced housing on the Island, this area has been attracting minorities and immigrants. Brentwood, settled in 1851 as part of a free-love social experiment that lasted 13 years, is now more than half Hispanic. Once a destination for Puerto Ricans, it also has attracted large numbers of Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Mexicans. Illegal immigration has been a divisive issue in Suffolk. In 2006, officials barred day laborers from loitering on public roads while looking for work. Historically Republican, the 2nd District has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1992. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama won it with 56% of the vote.