Both Hochul and Zeldin see promising signs in early voting

Both Hochul and Zeldin see promising signs in early voting

In New York’s gubernatorial race, conventional wisdom holds that Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, must maximize her vote in New York, a liberal bastion and cornerstone of the state’s electoral victories, while her Republican opponent, Representative Lee M. Zeldin, is hoping for a strong turnout. in moderate suburbs and more conservative areas upstate.

So, as Election Day looms and early voting wraps up, gubernatorial candidates pored over preliminary turnout reports for promising signs Monday, with each side finding signs of possible good news.

Preliminary figures from the State Board of Elections show that nearly 1.2 million people across the state voted early, a sharp drop from 2020, a presidential election year in which voter turnout is typically higher than in midterm elections. By comparison, about 2.5 million New Yorkers voted earlier in 2020, according to the board, down roughly 53 percent in 2022.

Low turnout in the city could favor Republicans, who are outnumbered in New York and use issues like crime and inflation to woo voters, as well as conservative candidates across the nation. Midterms also tend to favor the party that doesn’t hold the White House, with President Biden suffering from mediocre approval ratings.

But in New York, some say the somewhat low early voting numbers hold hope for Ms. Hochul. Nearly 37 percent of those who cast their ballots were New York City voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, with Republicans and Conservative Party members making up only about 10 percent of the city’s voters. more than five million registered voters.

“These are very good signs for Democrats,” said Bruce Gyory, a Democratic political consultant who does not work for either candidate. “But what you need to find out is what will happen during the same-day voting.”

Of course, in numerous interviews in the last days of the campaignmany supporters of Mr. The Zeldas said they waited to vote on Election Day, with some mistrust of the early voting system, a reflection of baseless claims by former President Donald J. Trump and other Republicans about nefarious interference in the 2020 election.

“Early voting gives more people time to screw up votes,” said Tom Gildea, 49, a mortgage loan officer and registered Republican who attended a rally Saturday night for Mr. Zeldina in suburban Orange County.

Data from the New York City Board of Elections also showed voters in Manhattan turned out in significant numbers during the nine days of early voting that ended Sunday, just over half of the 2020 total. But the Bronx—another Democratic stronghold—showed a sharp decline 2020with only about a quarter of the number of voters who voted early in 2022.

Brooklyn and Queens — both traditionally vote-rich for Democrats — had slightly higher percentages, with both accounting for about 36 percent of their 2020 early votes.

Republicans, who have not won a state election in New York for two decades, are encouraged by numerous polls showing that Mr. Zeldin trails Ms. Hochul by only single digits, even though she is her party millions more registered voters in the state.

Mr. Zeldin said he generally believes he can win if they get about 30 percent of the vote in the city, relying on independent voters — those who refuse to state their affiliation — who make up about 20 percent of the city’s electorate.

The city’s most conservative borough, Staten Island, would also be key to reaching that 30 percent benchmark: Early data showed only about 35,000 voters cast early ballots there, about a third of the 2020 number.

On Monday, Zeldin reiterated the importance of winning over a good portion of New York voters.

“If we get 35 percent or more,” he said, “it’s really hard for us to lose the race.”

At the same time, the New York State Democratic Party also cited early voting data, taken from their voter records, which say 60 percent of voters were Democrats and 56 percent were women. Those numbers could reflect a potential advantage for Ms. Hochul, who is the state’s first female governor and a strong supporter of access to abortion, an issue that favors her party.

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he was cautiously encouraged.

“We don’t know what will happen tomorrow when the majority of voters actually vote,” Mr. Jacobs said. “But I’d rather have these numbers than any other numbers.”

Adel Hassan, Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Timmy Facciola contributed reporting.

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