Democrats in New York are increasingly concerned about tightening polls just two weeks before the midterm elections, The New York Times reports.
While Hochul led Republican challenger Lee Zeldin by as much as 18 points over the summer, polls show her lead down to about 7 percentage points in recent surveys.
The narrowing margin tracks with other polls showing that fears about crime and inflation have eclipsed abortion as a top concern for voters.
Former Democratic Gov. David Paterson said that maybe “it was the right thing” to focus on abortion over the summer, “but these times, meaning September and October, really call for more conversation about what we do with convicted felons, what we do with the judges’ capacity to assess dangerousness and obviously what we do with a significant number of people with mental illness walking the streets.”
Hochul, the former lieutenant governor who replaced disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo, seems to have gotten the message.
Hochul recently held an appearance with New York City Mayor Eric Adams to announce an increase in police on trains.
She recently went on a tour of Harlem churches to assure Black voters that she is “laser-focused” on safety.
“We believe in justice, the justice that Jesus teaches us, but it’s also about safety,” Hochul said at one of her stops. “We are laser-focused on keeping you, your children and your grandchildren safe.”
Her campaign has also shifted millions to ads highlighting her work on the economy and crime.
Hochul and Zeldin faced off at a debate on Tuesday where the Republican challenger made clear that he is focusing on economic and public safety messaging.
“You’re poorer and less safe thanks to Kathy Hochul,” Zeldin said as he raged over violence on subways.
Hochul pushed back, accusing Zeldin of fearmongering and ignoring her work on subway safety and gun control.
“You can either work on keeping people scared or you can keep them safe,” she said.