U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin has pulled ahead in the race for the GOP nomination for New York governor by 6.5 points over the nearest challenger, former Trump administration adviser and businessman Andrew Giuliani, as the state’s primary elections loom on Tuesday, according to a new poll conducted by John Zogby Strategies.
The poll, conducted online from June 20-22 of 400 people likely to vote in the primary, put Zeldin, R-N.Y., ahead of Giuliani by 34.5% to 28%, wrote John Zogby, senior partner at John Zogby Strategies, for Forbes.
Zeldin and Giuliani came out far ahead of their nearest challenger, former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2016, who netted 16% in this current poll. Astorino was followed closely by investor Harry Wilson, at 14%. Just 8% of the voters replied that they are not sure who will get their votes.
The poll carried a margin-of-sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, with the error margins higher in subgroups, according to Zogby.
Zeldin, according to Zogby, leads in key segments for a GOP win in the primary, including:
- Upstate New York voters (32% to Giuliani’s 24%, with Wilson at 21%)
- Home region of New York City’s suburbs (42% to Giuliani’s 32%)
- All age groups over 30, including men (38% to 29% for Giuliani; women (31% to 27%); and conservatives (37% to 29%).
Meanwhile, the poll showed incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul holding a strong lead among Democrats, gathering 55% of the voters compared to 22% for U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and 19% for New York City’s public advocate Jumaane Williams. Hochul is also far ahead of Suozzi and Williams in every subgroup.
The governor is also entering the general election with high job approval and personal favorable ratings, with her job approval at 55% to 40% who disapprove and her personal favorable rate at 54% to 40%.
Zeldin, meanwhile, came out with a 33% favorable rate and 33% unfavorable, with 25% of those polled saying they are not familiar enough with him to decide.
Giuliani, Zogby said, benefitted from the famous name of his father, the former New York City mayor, and Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, with just 15% saying they were not familiar enough with him, said Zogby.
He garnered a 30% favorable rating, compared to 50% unfavorable.
Astorino came out with a 30%-24%-34% rating and Wilson had a 31% to 19% rating, with 38% saying they were not familiar enough with him.
Zeldin’s chances are increasing as the election nears, said Zogby, even with Wilson hitting him with a heavy negative advertising blitz. The congressman’s lead went from a 10 point deficit in May to his current 6.5-point lead, jumping from 2 points Tuesday to 4 points on Wednesday and by 6.5 points when the Zogby poll closed.
Giuliani was polling at around 30% the first night of the poll before declining slightly over the next two days, pointing to a tight race between him and Wilson for second place.
The key issues, voters said, are crime (54%) and taxes/budget (43%). Only 22% of the respondents mentioned the economy or helping small businesses as key issues.
“The top two issues could play into Republican hands in the fall,” Zogby wrote. “But for now, the Governor is still popular. In the five months we’ve been tracking, this has continuously been a fluid race.”