New York State In-depth

Hochul holds early lead in Siena poll over rival Zeldin | State News

ALBANY — A pair of polls released early Tuesday show New York Gov. Kathy Hochul with a healthy lead over Lee Zeldin ahead of November’s general election.

Hochul, the Democratic incumbent, leads the Long Island Republican by 14 points among likely voters, according to a survey conducted by Siena College. A second Emerson poll conducted simultaneously has Hochul leading Zeldin by 16 points.

Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted that while the governor has a commanding lead in the city, 63% to 17%, she trails Zeldin 49% to 43% in the surrounding suburbs, and is statistically even with him upstate.

Democrats vastly outnumbered 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.

“Fourteen weeks is a long time in politics, and we know most voters don’t really begin to focus on elections (until) after Labor Day,” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said.

Hochul’s 46%-41% favorability rating in the Siena poll is essentially unchanged from June while 52% of respondents gave the governor a positive approval rating.

The Buffalo native is seeking a full term in office after replacing disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo last summer.

Cuomo resigned last August amid sexual harassment allegations from several staffers and state employees.

According to Siena, Zeldin has a 31%-28% favorability rating, with 41% either having no opinion or never heard of him, up from 21-22-57% in June.

The Siena survey found Hochul’s fellow Democrats all holding similarly large leads in New York’s statewide races.

Attorney General Letitia James leads her Republican challenger Michael Henry 50%-36% while State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli leads Republican Paul Rodriguez 51-30%.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., holds a 21-point lead over Republican Joe Pinion, 56%-35%.

The poll also found wide support for a new law tightening eligibility requirements to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

The “lowest” support was recorded among conservatives, who still favor the new law 71-27%.

Roe, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion,” Greenberg said.

According to the poll, 88% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 50% of Republicans believe abortion should always remain or mostly legal.

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