Money can’t buy Gov. Kathy Hochul love when it comes to sealing the deal with voters.
A Marist Poll released Thursday shows US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) of Long Island just eight points behind the Democratic incumbent Hochul — 52% to 44% — among New Yorkers who definitely plan to vote in the Nov. 8 election.
That tightening in the race comes despite millions of dollars in attack ads by Hochul, whose voters remain less committed than those supporting her Republican rival.
“There’s an enthusiasm gap, which partially offsets the huge registration advantages that the Democrats have, obviously, in New York,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, told reporters of the poll findings.
The survey of 1,117 registered voters, which had a margin of error of 4% for most questions, found 74% of Zeldin supporters are firmly supporting him compared to only 62% for Hochul, who is running for a full term in office after replacing disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo mid-term last year.
Zeldin has a 49% to 35% lead, with a 4.4% margin of error, against Hochul among independent voters who definitely plan to cast ballots as well as a 50% to 47% advantage with suburbanites in the key suburban counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland.
A total of 78% of registered Republicans plan on voting compared to 77% of independents and a relatively paltry 62% of Democrats.
The political winds also appear to be blowing in Zeldin’s favor based on the issues most important to voters, with 28% rating inflation as the top issue compared to 24% for preserving democracy — a topic that does not necessarily favor Democrats despite Hochul ads highlighting Zeldin’s votes against certifying the 2020 presidential results.
Crime tops abortion by a tally of 18% to 14%, according to the poll.
“We’ve been saying this race was a single-digit race for a long time, and we know that it’s much closer than even this new Marist poll. We’ve consistently been gaining ground on Hochul as New Yorkers witness firsthand her abysmal record on the issues most important to them — crime, the economy, corruption, and far more,” Zeldin said in a statement.
A Hochul campaign spokesman declined to comment Thursday.
Zeldin has campaigned heavily amid rising crime on his opposition to criminal justice reforms approved by Albany Democrats in recent years while Hochul in recent months has cast him as an extremist on reproductive rights.
“The suburbs are where people are most showing the most excitement about voting — and that’s where crime may be the most salient of all,” Jay DeDapper, director of strategy and innovation at Marist, told reporters Thursday.
The poll is the latest to show
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