A new poll shows Republican Lee Zeldin in the lead over Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul in the New York Governor’s race.
The poll of 1,056 likely voters, conducted by Co/efficient on October 18-19, shows Zeldin with a very slight lead over incumbent Hochul, 45.6%-45.3%; 9.1% of voters were undecided. The poll is within the margin of error, but it is the first poll from a nationwide firm showing Zeldin in the lead in deep-blue New York. The poll comes as multiple polls have shown that the race is close.
The poll showed that Zeldin is performing well with a number of key demographic groups. Breaking down the poll by race, Zeldin is winning white voters, 48%-44%; Zeldin is also winning Hispanic voters by a significant margin, 54%-36%; and he is winning other races, 52%-33%. He is also stealing 18% of the black vote from Hochul.
Breaking down by registered party, Zeldin is taking nearly a quarter of Democrats, 23%, from Hochul; Zeldin is also winning third-party and independent voters by a wide margin, 59%-28%. Among self-identified party, Zeldin is still taking 10% of Democrats; he is winning independents, 47%-38%; and is leading with third parties, 33%-31%.
Breaking down by region, Zeldin is leading in every region beside the New York City metropolitan area and Western New York, which encompasses the Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls areas.
Zeldin’s largest lead is in the Hudson Valley, where he leads 52%-33%. He leads on Long Island, 56%-42%; in the Cap Region, he leads 51%-40%; in Central New York, he leads 47%-44%. Even where he lags, Zeldin is taking critical support away from Hochul. He is in striking distance of Hochul in Western New York, with 45% of the vote to Hochul’s 47%. In New York City, Zeldin is siphoning 36% of the vote away from the Governor, who garnered 53%.
The other 9% of undecideds could break for Zeldin, considering the dismal favorability ratings for both President Joe Biden and Hochul; Biden has just a 38.3% favorable rating with a 51.3% unfavorable rating; Hochul is faring even worse, with just a 36.5% favorable rating and a 48.6% unfavorable. Zeldin, meanwhile, has a positive favorability; 40.8% are favorable to Zeldin, while just 39.5% are unfavorable.
The poll comes after another poll from The Trafalgar Group found Zeldin within striking distance. Trafalgar Group chief pollster Robert Cahaly told The Daily Wire there were several trends that showed Hochul was in trouble. “She is not winning Democrats by nearly what she needs to win, and Zeldin is dominating with Republicans and independents,” Cahaly said.
One of the biggest reasons why Hochul is lagging among her own party and Zeldin is surging is the growing problem of crime in the state. Cahaly told The Daily Wire that crime is overwhelmingly the top issue for New York voters. “It’s the only state we’ve seen crime exceed the economy,” he said. Crime is especially important for people who live in and around New York City, even lifelong Democrats; their number one issue is crime, and they are voting for Zeldin because of it, Cahaly added.
Another reason the race is so close is because neither Republicans nor Democrats are spending large sums of money in the race. “When big money is spent, it changes things,” Cahaly said, noting that when the parties are spending big, candidates tend to focus more on personal attacks against each other. When they aren’t spending money, the election focuses much more on issues and the incumbent’s track record, and the issues are heavily against Hochul.