Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Real Clear Politics, an independent, non-partisan political news organization, says the race between Governor Hochul and Lee Zeldin has become a bit more competitive with less than a month to go before Election Day.
John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics said three publicly available polls in October show Hochul with a 2.8 point and six point lead. A Siena Research poll released Tuesday morning shows Hochul's lead over Zeldin at 11 points, down from 17 points three weeks ago.
"So our average our RCP average now has five points, which is in the range of when we typically move these races into a toss up category," explains McIntyre. He notes Hochul is a governor who moved up when Andrew Cuomo resigned, the RCP average has her below 50 percent. He says major issues in the polling that come to the forefront are issues where Republicans have a significant edge, the economy, inflation, crime.
"The fact that the stock market has been trending down the last 30 or 60 days, this affects people's 401 k's are retirements," said McIntyre.
Carl Calabrese says the turnaround has been quick. "It wasn't that long ago that most of the major polling companies were showing Kathy Hochul up by anywhere from 12 to 15 points. And all of a sudden now, based on the Real Clear average, and other things are looking at, we've got a toss up in their opinion," says Calabrese. He says one reason is people are paying more attention to the race now that summer is over. "You can see how the election may turn out in just a few short weeks. So I think that's probably what happened," says Calabrese.
Calabrese says the crime issue has also taken prominence. "I think the fact that you had a shoot out on his front lawn, in the suburbs of Long Island really drove this point home. And every single day. You've got more crime, more vicious crime, and the media's coverage of crime. And so people are seeing this every single night," notes Calabrese.
He notes it will be challenging for Zeldin to achieve victory in November. "He's got to get 30 to 33% of the New York City vote. He's got to win the Long Island suburbs. And he's got to do real well in upstate," notes Calabrese. He adds should there be a win, it would be seismic for the Republicans.
Jack O'Donnell of O'Donnell and Associates says there's more to the toss-up. "We've seen a couple polls from the Zeldin camp from traditional conservative allies that show him a lot closer than the public polling is. And I think that skews the average," says O'Donnell. He notes a Marist poll found Hochul with a 10 point lead, which is more consistent with his findings.
O'Donnell says the race is progressing as most races naturally do. "Governor Hochul has the momentum and has the name recognition. And now that leaves Zeldin and some of his allies are spending money, people are starting to look at him and and taking him seriously, which is what is making the race tighten up a little," says O'Donnell.
O'Donnell says Zeldin and Republicans are really clearly betting on crime and public safety, while Hochul and the Democrats have really pushed on issues like abortion, opposition to Trump and Trump policies as motivating factors.
McIntyre says the projection remains for Hochul to win re-election.