Joe Biden on the precipice of humiliation in New York as midterm vote nears

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Joe Biden warned about ‘potentially quite dangerous’ Midterms

Joe Biden is facing the prospect of humiliation in the New York gubernatorial race – with Republican challenger Lee Zeldin proving a fierce challenger to the Democratic stronghold. Experts believe the Democrat stances on crime – where statistics indicate violent felony is twice as high than 30 years ago – is viewed as “powerless or unwilling” compared to the Republican “lock ’em up” message. With the US midterms taking place on Wednesday, Express.co.uk spoke to Dr Christopher Phelps, a professor in American history at the University of Nottingham, and Dr James D.Boys, visiting scholar at Tufts University, Massachusetts, about the Democrat and Republican messaging on crime.

A focus on crime and inner city issues has been a boon to candidates like Zeldin, who looks to unseat Hochul as governor of New York, and win the gubernatorial election for the GOP in the state for the first time since 2002.

A poll from Emerson College Polling-Pix11-The Hill survey released on Tuesday found 52 percent of very likely voters supported Hochul compared to 44 percent for Zeldin.

However, since the race began in April 2022, according to FiveThirtyEight, Zeldin has narrowed the gap to only a seven point lead for the incumbent Democrat.

A Quinnipiac University poll released in October also showed likely voters ranking crime as their top urgent issue at 28 percent.

The Gubernatorial election in New York is significant as while it does not change the Democrats position of power in the House or Senate, losing a seat held by the party since 2002 would deal a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s image.

Joe Biden is facing the prospect of humiliation in the New York gubernatorial race

Joe Biden is facing the prospect of humiliation in the New York gubernatorial race (Image: GETTY)

Lee Zeldin has made crime central to his race, with polls placing it near the top of voters concerns

Lee Zeldin has made crime central to his race, with polls placing it near the top of voters concerns (Image: GETTY)

James D.Boys, visiting scholar at Tufts University, believes New York’s issues are “indicative” of the Democratic Party’s problems across the US.

He said: “There are various positions up for grabs in the midterms: Most of the focus is obviously going to be upon those elections that send members to the House of Representatives and the Senate, but the Governorships which are up for grabs are of great significance.

“In any Gubernatorial race in Manhattan, or in any large state such as Illinois or Michigan, what the Democrats need to do is to make sure that the vote that they get out in the city offsets that huge population in the landmass outside the city.

“One of the ways the Republicans are trying to (combat) that is to focus on the crime ticket, which is ostensibly a problem within the cities of New York State, of which New York City is just one of them.

“But of course, if you’ve been to New York, there is a major problem (with crime) as there are unfortunately in a number of key Democratic cities, which make people not want to go to those cities.”

Dr James D.Boys said fear of crime ‘is unfortunately something that is all too true’

Dr James D.Boys said fear of crime ‘is unfortunately something that is all too true’ (Image: GETTY)

Dr D.Boys said there is a sense ‘Democratic mayors are either powerless or unwilling to do something’

Dr D.Boys said there is a sense ‘Democratic mayors are either powerless or unwilling to do something (Image: GETTY)

Dr D.Boys continued to say the “levels of homelessness, the sense of being threatened on the streets of major American cities is unfortunately something that is all too true”.

He then added: “There is an issue in the US at the moment which is that people are being siloed into one of two camps, either a very strong Democrat or a very strong Republican camp, where both are simply refusing to believe the media which is being reported by quote unquote ‘the other side’.

“That is the major reason why I think in this case you’re seeing success in messaging from the Republican candidate (Mr Zeldin) simply because he knows he can count upon the vote of the rural New Yorkers, and he is clearly making inroads with those key urban voters in the cities where they see crime and homelessness prevailing, and a sense that the Democratic mayors in those cities are either powerless or unwilling to do anything about it.”

READ MORE: GOP praises Nancy Pelosi as she warns of her own party winning

Dr Christopher Phelps said Democrats ‘have some answers to crime but they aren't as simple to convey’

Dr Christopher Phelps said Democrats ‘have some answers to crime but they aren’t as simple to convey (Image: GETTY)

Dr Christopher Phelps, an American historian from Nottingham University, also told Express.co.uk that the Republicans have a “coherent message focused relentlessly on the economy, specifically the highest inflation rate in four decades, and secondarily on crime and immigration”.

He added: “The Democrats have had a serious focus on abortion rights following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer, and have voiced concerns about the rise of right-wing authoritarianism and political violence, but have lacked a concerted message on the economy that would help them break through. “

Dr Phelps then said: “Yes, urban crime is a major issue in a number of races, including not only New York but Oregon, where usually safe Democratic seats are now in question because of massive homelessness and street crime in Portland.

“The Democrats have some answers to crime but they aren’t as simple to convey as the ‘lock ’em up’ approach of the Republicans.”

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Kathy Hochul told Lee Zeldin on crime ‘I don’t know why that’s so important to you’

Kathy Hochul told Lee Zeldin on crime ‘I don’t know why that’s so important to you’ (Image: GETTY)

Crime statistics from the New York City Police Department suggest there has been a notable increase in overall crime in the city over the last two years.

Some precincts saw crime reports more than double on a year-over-year basis, overall the number of the seven major felony offences tracked by the NYPD is up 30 percent year-over-year, and all categories are now higher than pre-pandemic levels.

However, murders are down 32 percent year on year. Shootings are down 33 percent compared to 2021.

Jeffrey Butts, research professor and director of the Research & Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told City & State: “Violent crime was twice the rate in the mid-90s as it is now.”

While data shows improvement in the city, crime receives outsized media attention in New York, and in their only debate Ms Hocul told Mr Zeldin about the issue: “I don’t know why that’s so important to you.”



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