NY Gov. Hochul remains front runner over Democratic rivals in 2022 primary; de Blasio at back of pack

NY Gov. Hochul remains front runner over Democratic rivals in 2022 primary; de Blasio at back of pack

December 14, 2021

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A new poll among New York State Democrats is the latest to indicate that Gov. Kathy Hochul remains the front-runner in an increasingly crowded 2022 primary field.

Thirty-six percent of New York Democrats say they support Hochul in their party’s gubernatorial primary, according to a Siena College survey released on Tuesday. Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, in August was sworn in as the state’s first female governor. She succeeded then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals, including allegations that he sexually harassed more than 10 women. 

The poll indicated Hochul holding a double-digit lead over the rest of the field of declared Democratic candidates. Attorney General Letitia James stood at 18% support in the poll, with New York City Advocate Jumaane Williams at 10%, and 6% backing Rep. Tom Suozzi. Term limited and outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s mulling a bid for governor, also grabbed 6% support. Nearly a quarter (24%) of those Democrats questioned said they were undecided on whom they would support in the June 28 primary, or said they’d back another candidate.

Hochul – a moderate who secured key endorsements, has quickly built a large fundraising war chest, and enjoys a lead in nearly all of the most recent surveys – is considered the clear front-runner right now in the Democratic gubernatorial nomination race.

James, a progressive Democrat who oversaw the state investigation into the Cuomo sexual harassment allegations, is seeking to become the first Black female governor in the nation’s history. Williams, a left-leaning contender, energized progressive voters during his 2018 campaign for lieutenant governor. 

Suozzi, a centrist three-term Democrat who represents a congressional district on the north shore of New York’s Long Island, announced last week that he was running for governor rather than seek reelection to the House.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters after a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. 
(AP Photo)

“Hochul continues to have a double-digit lead over her opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and, unlike what is often seen in early polls, it is not completely based on name recognition. After all, Hochul and James have very similar favorability ratings among all voters – with nearly identical favorability ratings among Democrats – and de Blasio is the most known – and most disfavored – candidate among all voters and with just Democrats,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg highlighted. 

Hochul has a 42-28% favorability rating among all voters, little changed Siena’s previous poll, which was conducted in October. The governor’s job performance rating is negative 42%-46%, also little changed from October. De Blasio stands at 28% favorable and 55% unfavorable among all voters.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 12: Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the opening of a vaccination center for Broadway workers in Times Square on April 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images) 
(Noam Galai/Getty Images)

“With all the candidates trying to introduce themselves to voters and stand out among a growing field, Hochul has the advantage of incumbency and the largest bully pulpit and it appears to be helping her in this early going. But as Yogi so sagely put it, ‘It gets late early out there.’ The first financial filings in the race will come next month, the state convention the following month and the primary in just 28 weeks,” Greenberg noted. “The clock is ticking and all the gubernatorial campaigns – on both sides of the aisle – have their work cut out for them.”

The Siena College Poll was conducted November 29-December 3, with 785 New York State registered voters questioned. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 5.4 percentage points for questions asked only to Democratic primary voters.

New York is a solidly blue state where Cuomo won reelection to a third term in 2018 by 23 points and now President Biden carried the state by the same margin in last year’s election.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, who represents the east end of Long Island in the House and who’s received the backing of much of the state’s Republican Party leadership, is the clear front-runner in GOP gubernatorial primary. Andrew Giuliani, who served in former President Donald Trump’s administration and is the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, is also running for the GOP nomination, as is former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino.

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