Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has nudged out Democratic rival Gov. Kathy Hochul in New York’s closely-watched gubernatorial race — just a week out from the election, a new poll shows.
The tough-on-crime Zeldin is now leading the progressive incumbent governor by 48.4% to 47.6%, according to the Trafalgar Group poll released late Monday.
Only 4% of the likely voters polled said they were still undecided on who they wanted to elect as the Empire State’s next governor on Nov. 8.
“Crime Wave Kathy is driving New York right off a cliff,” Zeldin said in a statement after the poll’s release. “To repeal cashless bail, fire rogue DAs like Alvin Bragg, stop congestion pricing, and take other bold action to save our state, Hochul’s gotta go.
“On November 8th, we are going to win this race for governor, because we have to win this race. Losing is not an option. New Yorkers throughout the state are sick and tired of the attacks on our wallets, safety, freedom and kids’ education. They’re fed up with the direction of Kathy Hochul’s New York, her rampant pay to play corruption, soaring crime, and crushing costs.”
The Hochul campaign declined to comment on the new polling.
The poll comes as Hochul, who is seeking election to the seat for the first time, was slammed for suggesting in a recent MSNBC interview that Americans’ rising fear about crime was manufactured by “master manipulators” in a national “conspiracy.”
She also accused Zeldin and other Republican critics of being “data deniers” – even though police data shows the majority of major crimes surged over the summer compared with last year.
Hochul’s lead over the Long Island congressman has shrunk considerably from a nearly 20-point margin over the summer as Zeldin doubled down on his campaign messaging on crime.
The tighter-than-expected race is now so close that Real Clear Politics has it as a “toss up.”
“Now we can all see what’s causing the panic in Camp Kathy. Her internal polls are showing this same massive momentum swing and she is flailing her arms in the surf trying to keep above water,” Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), spokesman for a pro-Zeldin super PAC, told The Post.
“In the past week, we’ve heard her shift positions on crime, yeshivas, charter schools, bail, and probably her favorite ice cream flavor, too.”
Jesse Garcia, Zeldin’s hometown Suffolk County GOP chairman, said the latest poll shows the Republican candidate has the momentum — and is peaking at the right time.
“This is reflective of what we’re seeing on the ground. Zeldin and the entire Republican ticket has a lot of momentum from Erie to Montauk,” Garcia said.
He compared Zeldin to the great Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera, who used to close out games.
“If we’re talking about the greatest closers it’s Mariano Rivera and Lee Zeldin,” Garcia said.
Republican consultant, William O’ Riley, argued that the latest poll results prove Zeldin’s tough-on-crime approach is connecting with Empire State voters.
“Crime has changed everything, particularly in New York City,” O’ Riley said.
GOP state party Chair Nick Langworthy added: “New Yorkers are fired up and ready to take our state back. People from all political persuasions are about to deliver a reckoning to Kathy Hochul and show her that the only ones in denial are the tone-deaf Democrats who have destroyed New York. Change is coming.”
The Trafalgar poll of 1198 likely voters, which was conducted between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31, had a margin of error of 2.9%.