Election 2022: Hochul’s grip improving in a bid to stay in Albany

Election 2022: Hochul’s grip improving in a bid to stay in Albany

Despite Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s best efforts, it appears Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is pulling away and will likely win a second term in office.

(The Center Square) – As the final weekend before Election Day arrives, it appears Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is pulling away from Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin in the New York governor’s race.

Photo: New York State Governor’s Office

A statewide poll released Tuesday showed Hochul up 52% to 44%, with 3% undecided. When those undecideds are factored in, her lead grows to 54% to 45%. In conjunction with PIX11 and The Hill, Emerson College Polling conducted the survey after the gubernatorial candidates held their Oct. 25 debate.

On Friday, the Siena College Research Institute released polls in two upstate New York congressional races in which they also polled likely voters on the governor’s race. One of those races was the 22nd district, which includes the Syracuse area.

A month ago, the Spectrum News/Siena poll had Zeldin, a Long Island congressman, up 47% to 44% in the district. On Friday, the poll of 432 likely voters had flipped, showing Hochul with a 48% to 45% edge that was well within the 5 percentage points margin of error.

Siena pollster Steven Greenberg pointed out that between polls, Micron Technology announced plans to build a semiconductor plant in the Syracuse area that could have a $100 billion investment and 9,000 direct jobs. Still, he noted that “anything can happen” in the last days of the race.

Zeldin will need strong showings upstate and in New York City suburbs if he is to upset Hochul, who is likely to get big numbers out of New York City.

The race boils down to a couple of key issues, analysts say.

For Zeldin, a major part of his campaign focuses on crime and safety. One of his main points has been to repeal the state’s cashless bail law that lets accused offenders of most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies stay free while they await trial.

On Friday, Zeldin spoke at Pier 45 in Manhattan, where a woman was raped the morning before. He said that people across all parties are frustrated with increases in crime, noting that rapes and other sex crimes in New York City are up from last year.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “They’re tired of the pro-criminal laws that have been passed up in Albany. You have weak district attorneys who are refusing to enforce the law, and they want to be able to support our men and women in law enforcement.”

Hochul on Thursday attended a campaign rally at Barnard College with Hillary Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris and spoke about protecting the rights of women and minority communities in New York, something she said would be threatened under a Zeldin administration.

That includes reproductive freedom rights. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier overturned the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. She told the crowd Thursday that Zeldin said the ruling would not change abortion policies in the state.

“You know why nothing changed in the state of New York?” she said. “Because I’m the governor. That’s why nothing changed.”

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