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Hochul, Schumer maintain leads in new Marist poll

New York Governor Kathy Hochul tells reporters on April 7, 2022 that her office has received a conceptual agreement with state lawmakers on a state budget.
WAMC screenshot
New York Governor Kathy Hochul tells reporters on April 7, 2022 that her office has received a conceptual agreement with state lawmakers on a state budget.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul leads Republican challenger Lee Zeldin by 10 percentage points, according to a new Marist College poll.

Hochul, a Democrat, is seeking a full four-year term after taking over when Andrew Cuomo resigned in August 2021.

She has held the edge in polling and fundraising against Long Island Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin throughout the race, and with Election Day less than a month away, the Marist poll shows that dynamic hasn’t changed.

The poll finds 51 percent of registered voters backing Hochul, with Zeldin at 41 percent. Among voters who say they will definitely vote, Hochul is ahead 52-to-44.

“This is not an incumbent in a horrible election year, at least for Democrats in New York. And so in a sense, the registration advantage is certainly keeping her stabilized in terms of her standing in the head-to-head,” Lee Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said. “But as I indicated, there's a lot of folks who haven't framed an opinion yet on Congressman Zeldin, and that can shake things up a little at the margins, and then we could get this even closer than it is right now. But right now, it's a high single digit affair.”

Jay DeDapper is the Marist Poll’s director of strategy and innovation. He says efforts to draw parallels to the 1994 race when Republican George Pataki upset third-term Democrat Mario Cuomo are likely missing the mark.

“Not entirely the true story here because Pataki didn’t so much come from behind in October in our polls in October of 1994. Among leaners, and likely voters, we combine them. He was ahead by one and he ended up winning. And we have that in the final poll that he was up by one and other polls did too, that Pataki had a real shot here and in fact was ahead in October. We are not seeing that,” he said.

DeDapper says it might also be a mistake to focus on last year’s result in neighboring New Jersey.

“Number two, people are talking about well, New Jersey, people missed New Jersey, you know, Phil Murphy barely won in New Jersey. Well, he won by 3 with 52% of the vote,” he said. “And the final poll there that Monmouth did have him, yes it was a 10-point race, but they had him at 52. And that's the number to come back to I think and look here. Kathy Hochul’s at 52 when we look at voters who say they are definitely going to vote.”

Zeldin’s campaign says in a statement the race is “much closer than even this new Marist poll. We’ve consistently been gaining ground on Hochul,” adding “Losing is not an option!”

Hochul’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

In the survey conducted from October 3rd through 6th, 28 percent of voters said inflation is their top issue in the election, with 24 percent saying it’s preserving democracy. 18 percent said crime and 14 percent said abortion. 48 percent of respondents approve of President Joe Biden’s job performance, while 49 percent do not.

In New York’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer leads Republican Joe Pinion 54 percent to 34 percent.

Miringoff says Schumer is looking good for a fifth term.

“There's not, I think, any surprise there. He looks very strong,” he said. “Not only does he have a positive approval rating as Senator, but also 65% said they don't know enough about his challenger Pinion, to have an opinion one way or the other or they never heard of him. So right now you have an incumbent, you know, doing well, has a good margin. And there should not be much more news, unless anything dramatic occurs, between now and Election Day in that contest.”

A majority of registered voters, 54 percent, back the Democratic candidate in their Congressional district, with 38 percent backing the Republican.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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