Republican Lee Zeldin has taken the lead against incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul in the New York governor’s race, according to a new poll.
The poll of 1,198 respondents, conducted by the Trafalgar Group from October 27-31, showed that Zeldin holds a lead of just under one point against Hochul in a race that has become a nationwide spectacle, with the top figures in both parties rallying with the two hopefuls as the race has become a toss-up. The poll also comes after Zeldin picked up support from two key constituencies in New York City.
According to the poll, Zeldin leads Hochul, 48.4%-47.6%, with 4% of voters undecided. Notably, Democrats make up more than half the sample, and outnumber Republicans nearly two-to-one, 53.6%-27.5%. Independents made up the other 18.9%. But according to Pew Research, those numbers roughly track with the demographics of the state, a likely indicator that even Democrats in the state are breaking heavily for Zeldin.
The poll follows recent events in New York City that could indicate Zeldin is making inroads with two communities that heavily favor Democrats.
On Friday, Zeldin attended an event hosted by the Bronx Bangladeshi community in Parkchester, News 12 reported. According to data from Pew Research, the U.S. is home to more than 208,000 Bangladeshi Americans; New York City is home to some 93,000, far and away the largest population of Bangladeshis in the country. But Zeldin’s attendance at the event is especially notable because Bangladeshi Americans identify and vote overwhelmingly with Democrats. According to one exit poll from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 80% of Bangladeshis are registered Democrats, and 91% voted for Joe Biden in 2020.
Then on Sunday, Zeldin received the endorsement of three prominent rabbanim in New York City. In an announcement, rabbis Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Refoel Schorr, and Chaim Flohr urged their respective communities to support Zeldin, as well as New York Congressional candidate Mike Lawler, who is running against incumbent Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, who also chairs the Democrats’ Congressional campaign arm.
“The New York State government has now declared itself in charge of, and responsible for, the education of our precious sons and daughters. This situation, in and of itself, is a tremendous danger to the chinuch [education] of our children, and who knows where this will end,” the rabbanim stated in their letter.
The same day, Zeldin received the endorsement of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, which represents more than 200 Jewish synagogues and seminaries, and thousands of local Jewish residents. Zeldin has also secured endorsements from Yeshiva World News, a prominent Jewish newspaper, and four major Hasidic Jewish voting blocs in Boro Park, Brooklyn.
The endorsements from Jewish leaders are significant because Jewish voters also lean heavily Democratic. According to a study from Brandeis University, New York is home to nearly 1.6 million Jews; the New York City metropolitan area is home to 1.3 million Jewish residents. Another study found that Jewish voters in New York support Democrats by a margin of 65%-27%. An exit poll from the liberal J Street PAC, via the Times of Israel, found that 77% of Jewish voters voted for Joe Biden, compared to just 21% who voted for Donald Trump.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls currently has the race listed as a toss-up.