NY GOP Gov. Candidate Lee Zeldin Takes the Lead in New Poll

A new poll shows Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin leading New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul for the second time in this race. It’s a tiny edge to be sure, but this is an absolutely stunning result in the deep blue Empire State.

The Trafalgar Group surveyed 1198 likely voters and found Zeldin ahead by a margin of 48.4 to 47.6 percent, or 0.08 points, in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican governor in over two decades. The poll was conducted between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

Trafalgar is a right-leaning pollster, but this group’s record for accuracy tops most of the mainstream polling firms. Notably, Trafalgar predicted former President Donald Trump’s shock victory in 2016.

Ten days ago, co/efficient, a less well-known pollster, found Zeldin ahead of Hochul by a margin of 45.6 to 45.3 percent.

At the time this poll was released, co/efficient’s Ryan Munce told The New York Post, “The race has been tightening over the last few weeks and it appears that it is now a dead heat. The shift has been led by predominantly white and Hispanic registered Democrats defecting to support Zeldin, the Republican candidate.”

The poll also found that 40.8 percent of voters viewed Zeldin favorably, compared to 36.5 percent who viewed Hochul favorably.

Additionally, among independent voters, 47 percent supported Zeldin while 36 percent supported Hochul.

Asked for a comment by the Post, Zeldin said, “The stakes couldn’t be higher and the polls couldn’t be closer. We need every single New Yorker who is sick and tired of the attacks on our wallets, safety, kids’ education, and more to come out to vote and Save Our State. This is our last chance to turn New York around by firing Kathy Hochul, electing new leadership to restore balance to Albany, secure our streets, and put hardworking New York families first.”

Although it’s premature to predict that Zeldin will pull off an upset victory against Hochul, he has managed to close the gap from a whopping 24 points to a statistical dead heat.

As of Tuesday morning, the RealClearPolitics average of polls for this race shows Hochul up by 4.5 points. On Oct. 1, Hochul had led by 12.4 points. Zeldin clearly has momentum going into the final week of the campaign and he just might be able to make it.

Hochul has run a very uninspiring campaign. The word is she looked at her commanding lead several months ago and took victory for granted. In the meantime, Zeldin’s singular focus on the state’s skyrocketing crime rate seems to have resonated with voters.

An article about the latest Trafalgar poll in The Hill was titled “Even New York is being consumed by a red wave.”  The Hill is not a right-leaning site by any stretch. The report said, “The Republican surge is being replicated around the state.”

It continued, “A particular example of voters moving away from Democrats is the 17th District just north of New York City where veteran congressman and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Sean Patrick Maloney is now in a “toss-up” race with one-term State Assemblyman Mike Lawler. Similarly, internal polls on Long Island are showing GOP congressional candidates such as former NYPD detective Anthony D’Esposito pulling ahead in the race to fill the open seat vacated by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.).”

“If this red wave is occurring in deepest blue New York, this should portend massive GOP victories across the nation on Election Day,” the report said.

Republicans clearly have the wind at their backs this election season. We’re seeing races that were once considered long shots become competitive and it’s happening across the board, in House, Senate, gubernatorial, and local races.

Maybe the wave will be big enough to sweep Zeldin into office. If so, it would be the best thing to happen in New York since Republican Gov. George Pataki left office.


A previous version of this article appeared in The Western Journal.

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