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A new statewide poll suggests Rep. Lee Zeldin is gaining ground in the GOP race for governor against rivals like former Trump administration official Andrew Giuliani, businessman Harry Wilson and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino weeks ahead of the June 28 primary.

More than a third of Republican registered voters say they have a favorable opinion of Zeldin, with just 14 percent of GOP voters saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him, according to the Siena College poll released Monday.

His favorability increased by one point since March and is is now two points behind Giuliani, whose standing among Republicans appears to be slipping despite having much higher name recognition than his rivals in the campaign as the son of famous former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

A majority of GOP voters had no opinion, or appeared unfamiliar, with all the Republican candidates for governor except Giuliani. Slightly more Republicans appear familiar with Zeldin compared to weeks ago when he received the official backing of the GOP establishment at its nominating convention on Long Island.

Lee Zeldin.
More than a third of Republican registered voters say they have a favorable opinion of Rep. Lee Zeldin.
John Minchillo/AP

The new poll gives Republicans a few reasons to be optimistic about their chances this November of winning their first statewide election in two decades. A plurality of voters said they would prefer to vote for a gubernatorial candidate other than incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, with a majority of registered voters overall saying the state is heading in the wrong direction. 

“Hochul’s overall job performance rating, the worst it’s ever been, is 21 points under water, after being 11 points under water last month and just two points under water at the start of the year,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a press release.

“On two top-of-mind concerns for voters – crime and economic issues – voters give Hochul even lower grades,” Greenberg added. 

Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg broke down how Gov. Kathy Hochul’s poor job performance rating could sway the gubernatorial election.
YouTube/PBS

GOP voters also appear to be souring on Andrew Giuliani, whose favorability among them plummeted from 46 percent in late March to 38 percent in the latest poll, which was conducted April 18 to 21. Giuliani has an overall unfavorability rating of 31 percent among Republicans – roughly twice as much as any of his rivals. 

Zeldin also appears to be gaining ground against Astorino, whose favorability among Republicans dropped ten points over the last month, with his unfavorability ratings rising from 10 percent to 16 percent. 

His unfavorability rating increased by 2 points in the last month, according to the Siena Poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. 

Andrew Giuliani.
GOP voters appear to be souring on Andrew Giuliani, whose favorability plummeted from 46 percent to 38 percent.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Harry Wilson.
Harry Wilson’s unfavorability has ticked upwards in recent weeks amid ongoing attacks from rivals.
John Minchillo/AP
Rob Astorino.
Rob Astorino’s favorability among Republicans dropped ten points over the last month.
John Minchillo/AP

Wilson, a wealthy businessman who has vowed to spend millions of his own money in the race, remains unfamiliar with four out of five Republicans. His unfavorability has ticked upwards in recent weeks amid ongoing attacks from rivals regarding past donations to controversial Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a longtime friend from Harvard University. 

Recent surveys show Hochul with a formidable lead over primary opponents Rep. Thomas Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. A poll released earlier this month, conducted by the Republican consulting firm Big Dog Strategies, found Hochul with a single digit lead against Zeldin

The latest Siena poll did not include any head-to-head matchups in the Democratic or Republican primaries, but one poll released last month showed Zeldin with a 31-point lead in the GOP primary. 

Source: NYPOST

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