Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul is ahead in the New York governor’s race, but independent voters are aligning with the GOP in critical issues like rising crime and inflation, according to a recent poll.
A Marist Poll released Thursday found that Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul has a 10-point advantage over GOP challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin among all registered voters in the Empire State’s gubernatorial race. However, 49% of independent voters plan on voting for Zeldin while 35% support Hochul as she seeks a full term in the governor’s mansion, according to the poll.
The race narrows slightly among those who said they are definitely voting in November, with Hochul being the choice of 52% and 44% supporting Zeldin.
Zeldin’s good standing among independents in a Democrat-run city comes after he made it a mission to, if elected, crack down on surging crime in the state. “One of the reasons why I got into the race was because of these pro-criminal laws that have been getting passed out of Albany,” Zeldin recently told Fox News.
“Although Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate lead in very blue New York, the race for governor still bears watching,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Republicans say they are more likely to vote, enthusiasm for Zeldin among his supporters exceeds Hochul’s, and any shift to crime in the closing weeks is likely to benefit Zeldin.”
When thinking about the midterms, inflation was the issue top of mind to 28% of registered voters, followed by preserving democracy, which was the most important to 24%.
Among Democratic voters, 35% believe that preserving the democracy is the leading issue going into November’s election. Abortion was most important to 21%, and inflation to only 20%, despite the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising 0.4% in September and the inflation rate increasing 8.2% in the last year.
Around 42% of GOP voters said inflation was the most crucial issue, while crime ranked as most important to 27%. Independent voters also voiced that inflation was the top issue, followed by crime.
Crime in New York has risen dramatically and the issue is crucial to many citizens voting this fall. David Paterson, the former Democratic governor of New York, recently called out the state’s Democratic leadership, saying their approach on crime is a “blind spot” that is having a negative impact on areas like New York City.
“For the first time in my life – even in the late ‘80s and ’90s when the crime rate was killing 2,000 people a year – I never felt as unsafe as I do now just walking around and God forbid, sometimes we take the subway home from WABC, and you’re hearing about an assault on the subway almost every other day,” Paterson said while speaking on Sunday’s “The Cats Roundtable” with John Catsimatidis.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is dominating his re-election race for Senate with a 20-point edge over Republican nominee Joe Pinion, 54% to 34%.
The Marist Poll survey was conducted among 1,117 New York registered voters from Oct. 3-6. The margin of error sits at plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.