The gubernatorial race in New York was the sleeper race that not too many were paying attention to at the start, figuring that Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) probably didn’t have much of a shot.
But Zeldin has been gaining steadily on Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul from being back by double digits over the past few months. He’s been emphasizing the problem of crime in New York, something that is very important to voters and on which the Republicans have a big edge–given the Democrats association with the “defund the police” movement and soft-on-crime prosecutors.
Now, a stunning poll shows him moving ahead of Hochul by percentage points: 45.6 percent to 45.3 percent, according to the pollster company co/efficient’s survey. Last month, the same poll had Zeldin down by six points. The poll was of 1,056 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.31 points. Co/efficient also predicted Glenn Youngkin’s big win in Virginia in 2021.
“The race has been tightening over the last few weeks and it appears that it is now a dead heat. The shift has been led by predominantly white and Hispanic registered Democrats defecting to support Zeldin, the Republican candidate,” co/efficient pollster Ryan Munce said.
“With a little under three weeks to go, we still expect to see measurable movement in the statewide electorate and if the trend continues, New York could have its first Republican governor since 2006.”
Twenty-three percent of Democrats are supporting Zeldin, according to the poll.
Here’s one example of the defection–art dealer and publisher, Eli Klein.
I’m a lifelong Democrat, but am voting for @leezeldin to be the next Governor of New York. I believe his vow not to mess with abortion rights if elected & it’s obvious that Zeldin will be better for NY than Kathy Hochul. A vote for Hochul is a vote for Cuomo. We need real change!
— Eli Klein (@TheEliKlein) October 21, 2022
Good for him for putting concern for New York and its citizens first.
There were a few other signs in the poll that show Hochul is in big trouble.
Zeldin also has a big advantage with independents — 47 percent to 38 percent — and voters not registered with either party — 59 percent to 28 percent. In a tight race, those are the folks who are likely to swing the race, another good sign for Zeldin.
Another big danger sign for the Democrats in the poll? Zeldin is leading among Hispanic voters, 54 percent to 36 percent – a massive 18-point margin. Other polls are not showing that massive difference, but if even any of that is true, it’s bad news for Hochul.
Finally, in rabid blue NYC, Hochul is only leading 53 percent to 36 percent.
Republican strategists have said a GOP candidate needs to clear the 30% threshold in New York City to win statewide — along with carrying the suburbs and upstate. Zeldin also captured more than a third of the city’s support in the Quinnipiac College poll released Tuesday.
Zeldin led by 14 points – 56% to 42% – on his Long Island turf, and was ahead by 19 points in the Hudson Valley and 11 points in the Albany region.
This is the first poll showing Zeldin ahead, but the other polls are all reflecting the race tightening.
The problem for Democrats? Hochul is just a horrible candidate as well. She’s not well-liked, and she doesn’t come across as if she even gives a darn. With an intelligent, focused candidate like Zeldin and people just mad enough over crime and other issues to toss out the Democrat, Zeldin may be heading for a truly stunning result. All the momentum is his way, as it is with the Republicans in so many other races, and it looks like the red wave may hit in New York as well.