NEW YORK (PIX11) — For those eager to vote in the midterm elections, Saturday is the first chance for New York and New Jersey residents to cast their ballot as early voting begins in both states.

One of the most closely watched races this year is the tightening New York gubernatorial contest between Rep. Lee Zeldin and Gov. Kathy Hochul. A newly released exclusive poll by PIX11 News, with Emerson College Polling and The Hill, shows half of New Yorkers want Democrat Hochul as their governor. Meanwhile, 44% plan to vote for Republican Zeldin. 

“This reflects a tightening of the race since last month’s poll with The Hill and PIX11, where we had it around 14 points — strong double-digit lead for Hochul,” Camille Mumford, director of communications at Emerson College Polling, said.

Zeldin’s surge in October has been fueled in part by independent voters.

“Zeldin basically flipped the script on Hochul among those voters,” said Mumford.

While both candidates have been laser-focused on fighting crime, the PIX11 poll found it’s not the top issue for voters. For 33% of the respondents, their top issue is the economy. Only 13% said crime is their top issue, placing it third on the poll.

Other New York races on the November ballot include the state attorney general, state assembly and candidates for Congress, where Democrats are in danger of losing majority control. 

New Yorkers who wish to cast their votes early can find more information here. Information regarding early voting in New Jersey can be found here.