Poll: Republican Lee Zeldin Within ‘Striking Distance’ of Democrat Kathy Hochul as Crime Rages in New York

Spencer Platt/Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is within “striking distance” of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in New York’s gubernatorial race as crime is ranked as voters’ top issue heading into election day, a new poll reveals.

In the final weeks of the gubernatorial race, Zeldin is running just four points behind Hochul, who takes 50 percent to the Republican congressman’s 46 percent, the Quinnipiac University poll shows, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

This represents a major shift in favor of Zeldin, as a Marist College poll released last week found the Republican behind by ten percentage points. Likewise, days ago, election analysts at RealClearPolitics moved the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-up.”

Most significantly, Zeldin leads Hochul — 57 percent to 37 percent — among swing voters and takes upstate New York voters with 52 percent to Hochul’s 44 percent. In deeply liberal New York City, Hochul leads with 59 percent to Zeldin’s 37 percent.

“In the blue state of New York, the race for governor is competitive,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow said in a statement. “Democrats have cruised to victory in gubernatorial races since 2006, but Governor Hochul’s narrow edge puts Republican Lee Zeldin well within striking distance of her.”

Dave Wasserman notes that Hochul’s only slight lead in nearly all recent polls indicates that Zeldin “is likely leading in every battleground House district — and there are seven of them,” a prediction that would prove disastrous for House Democrats come election day.

Zeldin has made the state’s rising crime rate the focal point of his gubernatorial bid.

The Quinnipiac University poll finds that crime is the top-ranked issue among likely voters, followed by inflation. Among Republicans, crime is the top issue by a 42 percent plurality while swing voters rank crime as their top issue as well by a 31 percent plurality.

New York Democrats are the only group not to rank crime as their top priority, instead calling “protecting democracy” their number one issue heading into election day.

“Across the board, crime ranks high on the list of pressing issues,” Snow said. “Zeldin making crime a major part of his campaign could be where he’s making inroads in this race.”

In a statement, Zeldin said his campaign is “gaining massive ground on Hochul as New Yorkers witness first hand her abysmal record on the issues most important to them — crime, the economy, corruption and more.” Zeldin said:

Every day, all day, we’ve been all in, all across the state, communicating directly with voters about the issues that matter most to them. The polls have continued to show that our message is resonating, and on Tuesday, November 8th, New York voters are going to elect a new Governor to Save Our State and restore New York to glory.


In 2019, Democrats across New York passed a so-called “No Bail” law that eliminated bail for a number of criminal suspects accused of committing crimes like second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, third-degree assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, and aggravated vehicular homicide, among others.

As a result, New York has seen a skyrocketing crime wave where repeat offenders are continuously arrested and released from police custody.

In September, crime continued to rise in New York City — increasing more than 15 percent compared to the same time last year. Most prominently, grand larcenies increased by over 20 percent, burglaries increased by nearly 23 percent, and robberies increased by about 16.4 percent.

While Zeldin has vowed to overturn the bail law, Hochul has continued championing its main provisions as well as telling New Yorkers to stop blaming the law for rises in crime.

Hannah Bleau is a reporter for Breitbart News. 

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here


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