ALBANY — Gov. Hochul leads Republican challenger Lee Zeldin by 17 points and is gaining ground among suburban voters as Election Day approaches, according to a new Siena College poll.

The incumbent Democrat, seeking a full term in office after replacing disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo last year, continues to outpace her opponent among most voters as New Yorkers say economic issues are their top priority ahead of the Nov. 8 contest, the survey found.

In the city, Hochul dominates Zeldin 70% to 20% and has a five point lead over him in the downstate suburbs. The two are dead even among upstate voters, according to the poll.

Zeldin, however, bested Hochul among self-identifying independent voters 45% to 42%, the survey found.

Rep. Lee Zeldin and Gov. Kathy Hochul

Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said Zeldin’s narrow lead among independents is “both good – it’s a lead – and bad – it’s narrow.”

“To close or even narrow a 17-point gap, he would need to win a far greater share of independents, solidify Republican support, as well as pick off some more Democrats,” Greenberg added.

While economic issues including inflation and cost of living topped the list of major concerns for voters, threats to democracy and crime are also on their minds as they prepare to head to the polls in six weeks.

Hochul and Zeldin rolled out competing endorsements from law enforcement union groups on Tuesday as they seek to convince voters they’re best suited to tackle rising crime.

Hochul’s fellow Democrats faired well in the Siena poll with Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, both incumbent Dems, leading their respective Republican challengers by double digits.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also polled well, leading Republican Joe Pinion by 19 points, 55%-36%, according to the survey.

In the eight weeks since the last Siena poll, little has changed in the overall dynamic of the gubernatorial or any of the statewide races,” Greenberg said.

Democrats vastly outnumber registered GOP voters in New York by a 2-to-1 margin, giving Hochul a comfortable base as Zeldin hopes to become the first Republican to win a statewide office in nearly two decades.

The new poll also found that most voters, 55%, say they intend to vote in favor of the $4.2 billion environmental bond act that will appear on the November ballot.

The measure has support from three-quarters of Democrats and a plurality of independents, while Republicans oppose it 50%-24%, the poll found.

If approved, the measure would grant the state the ability to borrow billions to be used for climate and environmental projects across the state.

Overall, New York voters would like to see Democrats retain control of the House in the midterm elections by a margin of 54%-39%.

The survey also found that while most voters remain pessimistic about the direction of both the state and the country as a whole, the mood of respondents was slightly improved compared to last month.

Donald Trump remains deeply unpopular in his former home state with 63% of voters saying they have an unfavorable view of the twice impeached former president.

Additionally, 54% of voters say that the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida home to retrieve classified documents was a legitimate effort to protect national security rather than a politically motivated attack.

While more than three-quarters of Democrats support President Biden’s decision to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for some borrowers, more than three-quarters of Republicans and a majority of independents oppose it, resulting in modest overall statewide support of 53-44%.



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