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Politics

Two New Polls Show Tightening of NY Governor’s Race

NEW YORK – Notwithstanding widespread doubts in the accuracy of public opinion polls regarding political campaigns, talk of a massive political upset is in the air in New York.

Polls released this week show a narrowing in the New York gubernatorial race between the incumbent Governor Democrat Kathy Hochul and her Republican challenger, Representative Lee Zeldin.

The General election is less than three weeks away and according to a Siena College poll published on October 18, Hochul’s lead has shrunk to 11 points compared with a 17-point lead in last month’s poll. A Quinnipiac University poll released later that day indicated a more dramatic narrowing of the Democrat’s lead to only four points.

Analysts connect the shift towards Republican candidates – in New York and across the nation – to voters becoming increasingly concerned about crime and the economy as inflation remains stubbornly high and cities like New York have seen a return to the darkest days of the crime waves of the 1970s and 80s.

National and local polls are showing the most movement among independent voters, especially women, whom Democrats believed would vote for their candidates out of concern over the recent Supreme Court’s decision on abortion and the restrictions on reproductive freedom that followed in several states – though not in New York.

FILE – Suffolk County Congressman Lee Zeldin listens as he prepares to participate in New York’s Republican gubernatorial debate at the studios of CBS2 TV, June 13, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

After the economy, crime is the most important issue on voters’ minds, which benefits Republicans like Zeldin who focus on it, the Democrats not perceived as a ‘law and order’ party.

Columnists like Michael Goodwin of the right-leaning New York Post are positively giddy over the results, his latest column leading with the headline: “Lee Zeldin has real shot to defeat Kathy Hochul in modern David vs. Goliath showdown.” The Post’s news article projects a more subdued confidence: “’Resonating more strongly’: Crime, economy powering Zeldin over Hochul,” while The left-of-center New York Times is not showing panic yet, with restrained headlines on its news articles like, “Hochul Leads Zeldin by 10 Points in Marist Poll, as G.O.P. Sees Hope.”

‘Protecting Democracy’, an issue that rarely appeared on pollsters radar in the past and brought to the forefront by the actual and alleged actions of ex-President Donald Trump, is a concern mainly of the left of center and comes in third place among independents.

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