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Tipsheet

Lee Zeldin Continues to Gain Momentum As RCP Changes Race to 'Toss-Up'

Brittainy Newman/Newsday via AP, Pool

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the Republican gubernatorial nominee in New York, looks to be gaining momentum a little over three weeks before Election Day. On Friday, Zeldin shared that RealClearPolitics (RCP) had moved his race against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) from "Lean Democratic" to "Toss-Up."

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According to RCP's poll averages, Hochul's lead is down to +5.3. The Trafalgar Group, which has conducted multiple polls in the race, had her lead down to 1.9 percentage points in the latest poll released earlier this month

Even a Democratic poll, though, shows a shrinking lead for Hochul, in this case from Schoen Cooperman Research, which shows Hochul up by 6 percentage points, 50 percent to Zeldin's 44 percent. Zeldin leads with suburban voters, 52 percent to Hochul's 45 percent. Voters are split upstate, where Zeldin's lead of 48 percent to Hochul's 46 percent is within the margin of error. 

As pollster Doug Schoen is quoted by The New York Post as saying:

“It’s a very competitive race,” said Schoen, who has served as a pollster for former President Bill Clinton and three-term ex-Mayor Mike Bloomberg. 

The remaining 6 percent of voters are still undecided ahead of the Nov. 8 election, with early voting beginning on Oct. 29.

Schoen said undecided voters “mostly break” away from the incumbent during a midterm election when the sitting president, in this instance Democrat Joe Biden, is unpopular. 

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The poll, which was conducted October 8-12 with 824 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The last Republican governor of New York, Gov. George Pataki, was first elected in 1994, as part of another red wave. Pataki endorsed Zeldin last month. That race, between Pataki and former Gov. Mario Cuomo--the father of Chris Cuomo and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo--favored Mario until the final weeks of the race. 

Last Thursday, Zeldin mentioned that he would sign multiple executive orders into action, including to do with the issue of crime that has been rampant in the state, especially in New York City and on the subway systems. The first executive order will be to declare a state of emergency on crime and the second would be to suspend Cashless Bail, Less is More, Raise the Age, Discovery Changes, and the Halt Act.

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"Immediately after being sworn in as New York’s next Governor, I will be declaring a crime emergency, here in the state," the congressman said in a statement. "When New Yorkers go to sleep on January 1, 2023, cashless bail, the HALT Act, Raise the Age, Less is More, and the discovery law changes will be suspended across the state."

While crime has been particularly bad in the city, especially with the subway system, it is not merely limited to that area. Last Sunday, a shooting took place just outside Zeldin's home on Long Island, during when his 16-year-old daughters were home alone, though they were unharmed.

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