A poll conducted by the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Tom Suozzi shows him building momentum in the final weeks of the primary and has the potential to surpass Gov. Kathy Hochul with voters by June when voting begins.
The poll conducted by HarrisX and released to Spectrum News 1 by the Suozzi campaign comes as the Long Island congressman has criticized Hochul's administration on issues like crime and public safety over the last several months, while simultaneously arguing he is more apt to prevent a Republican victory in November.
It also coincides with a rough stretch of news for the governor, including the resignation of her lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, following an indictment on fraud and bribery charges.
Despite the rough-and-tumble of her first year in office, Hochul has consistently led public polling among Democratic voters, and she has picked up the lion's share of endorsements in the campaign. She has also started to spend on TV and digital advertising to promote herself with a wider swath of voters.
Whether Suozzi can continue to build on that into a lead with voters in the Democratic primary against an incumbent governor remains an open question.
The survey shows Suozzi's share of the Democratic vote has increased from 9% in February to 20% in April, outpacing New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in the primary who remained at 12% in April. Hochul's share of the Democratic vote in the poll has declined from 55% in February to 46% in April.
The poll also shows undecided voters swinging toward Suozzi in the primary, growing from 17% in March to 23% in April.
And the poll has Suozzi projected to overtake Hochul with voters who have seen Suozzi's TV ads and "after messaging" from the campaign.
Suozzi has argued in recent weeks he is the Democrat best positioned to keep the governor's office out of the hands of Republicans, a party that has not won statewide in New York since 2002. But Republicans believe this year is their best shot of recapturing the Executive Mansion given the voter concerns surrounding crime and inflation.
In March, 40% of Democratic voters believed Suozzi was the best choice to prevent a Republican from winning; 48% picked Hochul. That share has since increased for Suozzi to 52% and declined for Hochul to 34% in April.
At the same time, the poll found Democratic primary voters are most concerned with crime, with two-thirds of those polled calling it a top issue. More than half, 56%, believe Hochul isn't doing enough on the issue.
The poll released by Suozzi's campaign was conducted from April 28 to May 1 and surveyed 1,253 likely Democratic voters. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.