Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who is running for governor against Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul, has taken the lead in the race for the first time, per a new poll.
Zeldin currently has the support of 48.4% of respondents, compared to Hochul’s 47.6%, a lead of 0.8 points, according to the poll by The Trafalgar Group on Monday. Per RealClearPolitics, this is the first major poll that has shown a lead for Zeldin, a Long Islander representing New York’s 1st Congressional District.
Zeldin’s advantage – considered a statistical tie but sufficient to win him the race – comes as Hochul’s polling lead has declined over the summer from a high of 19 points over Zeldin in August. New York is known to be a heavily Democratic state, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of D+10 and whose State Assembly has been in Democratic control since the year 1975.
Vote like your life depends on it, because it does!pic.twitter.com/RoDcYieOqH
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) October 31, 2022
The race between Zeldin and Hochul has focused largely on crime and affordability. New York City, in particular, has faced a significant increase in crime over the last year, with the latest NYPD statistics showing a 32% increase in robberies, 38.5% increase in grand larcenies, 13.9% increase in felony assaults and a 10.9% increase in rapes over last year.
Zeldin has said that “Hochul’s soft on crime, head in the sand approach to coddling criminals is making our streets & subways less safe.” He has promised to work to repeal a 2019 state law that eliminated cash bail and promulgated alternatives to pre-trial incarceration for “low-level offenses,” per the New York Civil Liberties Union. (RELATED: ‘Make Our Streets Safe Again’: Zeldin, Hochul Tackle Crime Policy In New York Governor Debate)
Notably, Zeldin has also promised to remove Manhattan’s District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, Jr., from office. Bragg, a left-wing Democrat elected in 2020, adopted a policy of not prosecuting certain offenses in 2022, though he backtracked on parts of the policy after fierce criticism from New York City officials.
Hochul, who is running for a full term, ascended the governorship in 2021 after her predecessor and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace amidst several sexual assault allegations against him, as well as a scandal over elderly Covid-19 patients being placed in nursing homes, leading to their deaths.
The poll surveyed 1,198 likely voters in New York and had an error margin of 2.9%. Neither Hochul nor Zeldin’s campaign responded immediately to a request for comment.
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