Republican Lee Zeldin Gains Lead In New York Governor’s Race: POLL

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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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.

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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