A wide field of candidates are still in the early stages of their bids for the state's top role — but a new poll shows there's an early front-runner.
After three months on the job, Gov. Kathy Hochul holds onto a double digit lead in a new Siena poll, which shows that 36 percent of Democrats support her. That’s twice as much support as the 18 percent state Attorney General Letitia James has.
Other democratic hopefuls include NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 10 percent, as well as Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, both of whom trail further behind, polling at six percent.
The poll found that New Yorkers' top priorities are the economy (49 percent), fighting crime (43 percent) and — to a slightly lesser extent — managing the pandemic (37 percent).
Unlike predecessor Andrew Cuomo, Hochul is leaving room for counties to set their own COVID rules, like the rule de Blasio announced on Monday requiring private sector employers to mandate vaccines.
"Yes, the mayor did call me before he announced it," she said at a press conference. "I believe that, where necessary, there should be a state wide approach. But where not necessary, or we're awaiting more data, that we can have a more surgical approach to dealing with the pandemic."
The governor's closest competitor at this time, James, is testing out some vague new lines of attack against Hochul.
"A governor in the state of New York needs courage, needs tenacity and needs results," she said in a TV interview last week.
The poll also found that a large majority of Democrats find Hochul honest and hardworking. But James is also pointing to rising COVID cases in Hochul’s home county, and differences of opinion on vaccine mandates.
"Individuals are being fired for not getting the vaccination — I oppose that. We should work with unions," James said.
Suozzi has distinguished himself from the pack by offering measured praised for Cuomo.New Poll Shows Kathy Hochul With Big Lead Early On in Race for New York Governor
"You can't take away the fact that, during COVID, he was there every single day, laying out a comprehensive plan," Suozzi said.
The primaries are in six months.