Voters across the political spectrum weighed in on recent comments regarding crime from New York gubernatorial candidates Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin, with reactions indicating how their stances may impact the upcoming election.
New York Democratic Governor Hochul claimed on Sunday that voters’ perceptions about crime across the country are actually based on a “conspiracy” formulated by the GOP. During an interview on MSNBC with Al Sharpton, Hochul called Republicans “master manipulators” trying to convince people that Democratic states are unsafe.
“These are master manipulators. They have this conspiracy going all across America trying to convince people that in Democratic states that they’re not as safe. Well guess what? They’re also not only election deniers, they’re data deniers,” she said.
The governor went on to argue that violent crime was actually down in her state.
In a survey that played the video of her remarks and allowed respondents to track their reaction in real time, registered voters evenly split among Democrats (blue line), Republicans (red line) and independents (gray line), had differing perspectives on Hochul’s comments.
“We do not need more politicians voicing a conspiracy theory about hate and crime,” one independent voter said in reaction to the video. “Violence is up in democratically and republican run states, and it is insulting to believe that guns are the only problem. I would be in favor of doing away with private citizen ownership of guns because they do little good and much harm.”
“I get crime is less in democratic areas, but it’s still too high and that wasn’t addressed,” a Democratic voter said.
One Republican voter said her comments were just “plain insulting,” while another said Hochul was “out of her mind” if she thinks the data shows a reduction in crime.
Pollster Lee Carter, who conducted the survey through her company Maslansky + Partners, said that she believes Hochul’s comments could be her “basket of deplorables” moment, a reference to Hillary Clinton’s past comments about Donald Trump supporters.
“What she did here is not only fail to address crime, but dismiss it. When she said that data shows that shootings and murders are down by 50% and Republicans are not only election deniers but data deniers—she absolutely lost all credibility with independents and Republicans,” Carter said.
She added that while Democrats respond favorably to attacks on Republicans, independents and Republicans hate it, causing them to retrench and rethink their options at the ballot box.
Her opponent, Zeldin, has used crime as the cornerstone of his campaign, making a number of media appearances to discuss lawlessness in the last month.
Recently, the gubernatorial candidate appeared on Fox News where he talked about how people’s routines are changing in New York as a response to their increased concerns about violence.
“Maybe they used to ride the subway, and they don’t know. Maybe they used to ride the subway with their yarmulkes on, but now they take it off because they’re afraid of being targeted for being Jewish or for being Sikh, maybe they take their turban off. There are individuals who when they do ride the subway they’re grabbing a pole or guardrail because they’re afraid of being pushed in front of an oncoming subway care,” Zeldin said.
He made note of a variety of different high-profile crimes, including the story of a father who was killed inside a hotel while visiting his daughter for Parents Weekend at Marist College, and a woman who was shot and killed in front of her children.
“For New Yorkers this is real life,” Zeldin added. “They don’t want to be lectured that there’s nothing to see here, look away. They don’t want to be told that it’s just a perception. What they want is boldness and courage and understanding that this can happen to anyone. Whether it’s for them, it can happen to other people in their lives. They want to see District Attorney’s enforcing the law, they want law enforcement to be supported, and they want to roll back pro-criminal laws like cashless bail.”
A real-time survey that played the video of Zeldin’s remarks saw him receive an overall score of A from Republicans, a B from Independents, and a C from Democrats.
“New York you would think is never up for grabs for a Republican. It is closer than you would expect,” Carter told Fox News Digital, noting that it is a race to watch closely. She added that Zeldin is one of the few Republicans she has seen whose words do not alienate Democratic voters.
One Democrat responding to the survey said “sadly, I do agree with [Zeldin].”
“I’m a democrat, but I might have to vote for him because he’s speaking to me,” another voter said.
“It’s a common sense,” an independent voter added. “Here’s a guy who knows what it takes to come in and clean up New York City and New York and enforce the law. He would have my vote for sure.”