Your reaction to the latest polling news out of New York may depend on which pill you chose when Morpheus offered them to you. For months now, we have watched as Republican congressman Lee Zeldin has closed the gap in his longshot bid to replace unelected New York Governor Kathy Hochul. But while the race has long been far closer than it ever should have been in a state with a two-to-one registration advantage for the Democrats, he still never managed to turn up a set of numbers that showed him leading the race. Many local media prognosticators recently concluded that he would likely come up short by five points or more, putting a scare into Kathy Hochul, but not sending her packing. But now, the previously unthinkable has happened. A new poll from co/efficient this week shows Zeldin barely inching ahead of Hochul by a 45.6 to 45.3 margin with barely three weeks to go. (NY Post)
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has edged past Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul by decimal points and the race for governor is now a dead heat, a stunning new poll released Friday reveals.
The independent co/efficient survey of 1,056 likely voters shows Zeldin with 45.6% support and Hochul at 45.3% with the rest undecided.
The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3.31 percentage points.
Significantly, it’s the first poll showing Zeldin — who has run a campaign focusing on law and order amid a crime surge — running ahead or even with the Democrat governor.
To be fair, we should point out that co/efficient has traditionally been viewed as a more right-leaning polling outfit. But with that said, their last survey, taken in early September, showed Hochul with a six-point lead, the same as was seen by other major surveys. Also, co-efficient correctly predicted Glenn Youngkin’s victory over Terry McAuliffe last year when many of their competitors predicted Youngkin would lose narrowly.
So if we assume these numbers are based in reality, where is the Republican candidate picking up his support? One of the key factors would appear to be the way the third-party and unaffiliated voters are breaking. Zeldin is leading among registered independents by a 59% to 28% margin. Also, this survey suggests there are an increasing number of “defections” among white and Hispanic Democrats switching sides to support Zeldin. He currently leads among Hispanic voters by a shocking 53% to 36% margin.
Strategists insist that a Republican can’t win a statewide race in New York without getting at least 30 percent of the vote in the Big Apple. Zeldin’s support in New York City now stands at 36 percent. So is this really happening or did I just nod off and take the blue pill by accident? There will be a couple more rounds of polling due by the end of the week, so we should probably wait and see how they match up. But if Lee Zeldin actually unseats Kathy Hochul it’s going to send shockwaves through the political world.
Zeldin isn’t the only Republican candidate that’s been picking up support from unanticipated demographic sectors, by the way. In Florida, Ron DeSantis is also opening up a lead among Latino voters and may be the first Republican to carry the Miami-Dade area in decades. We’ve already seen what’s been going on along the southern border in Texas, where districts that have been held by the Democrats for more than a century in some cases have suddenly experienced a redshift. It may just be possible that a demographic group that the Democrats have taken for granted for decades (while delivering virtually nothing in return) has grown fed up and they are ready to try their luck on the other side of the aisle. Let’s see how well the GOP can capitalize on that opportunity by actually prioritizing some of the issues most important to those voters.