Hochul’s lead over Zeldin 'not insurmountable,' poll finds


ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul had a 14 percentage-point lead over Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, the Siena College Research Institute found in a poll released Tuesday

Hochul led 53 percent to 39 percent in the first public poll conducted since the June primaries and the first to survey likely general election voters.

While that’s a sizable lead for the incumbent, it’s also the third-best performance by a GOP nominee in a public gubernatorial poll in New York in the five elections since Republican Gov. George Pataki last ran in 2002. An outlier poll from Quinnipiac in 2010 found Andrew Cuomo with only a 6-point lead over Carl Paladino, and one from Siena a few days before Cuomo won the 2018 election by 22 points found him leading Marc Molinaro by 13 points.

“Fourteen weeks is a long time in politics, and we know most voters don’t really begin to focus on elections till after Labor Day,” Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg said in a release.

“Still, Hochul has an early — but certainly not insurmountable — lead. In fact, while Democrats have taken the last four gubernatorial elections, Zeldin’s current 14-point deficit matches the closest Republicans have come in those races, when Andrew Cuomo defeated Rob Astorino 54-40 percent in 2014. In August 2014, Cuomo led Astorino by 32 points, 58-26 percent.”

Hochul led by a margin of 70 percent to 21 percent among New York City voters. Zeldin led 46 percent to 43 percent in the suburbs and 48 percent to 45 percent upstate.

A Republican has not won a statewide race since 2002 when Pataki was elected to a third term.

Other Democrats enjoy double-digit leads: Sen. Chuck Schumer led Republican challenger Joe Pinion 56 percent to 35 percent. And Comptroller Tom DiNapoli similar had a 21-point edge, topping challenger Paul Rodriguez 51 percent to 30 percent.

Attorney General Tish James led Republican challenger Michael Henry 50 percent to 36 percent.

None of these three Republicans had any significant name recognition.

Abortion, gun control remain popular: Voters supported major components of the recent law by Democrats in the state Legislature to overhaul the concealed carry firearm law following a Supreme Court decision that stuck the existing one.

A total of 82 percent of respondents supported adding requirements like a background check to obtain a concealed carry permit, while 15 percent opposed the expansion.

Requiring businesses to post signs saying that concealed carrying is allowed was backed 63 percent to 32 percent, while prohibiting concealed weapons in locations like houses of worship and public transportation was backed 60 percent to 34 percent.

Only 25 percent of respondents supported the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade, while 68 percent opposed it.

Siena polled 806 likely voters from July 24 through July 28. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. View the crosstabs here.

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