New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is set to receive the endorsements of two Orthodox Jewish elected officials, solidifying his support in the community as new polls show Yang’s lead in the race narrowing.
Yang was to get the endorsements of Brooklyn Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and Councilman Kalman Yeger at an event in Boro Park on Sunday, but with the worldwide Jewish community in mourning after 45 people died at a Lag BaOmer celebration in Meron, the official endorsement announcement will be postponed by several days. News of the impending endorsements was first reported by the New York Post on Shabbos, and Hamodia subsequently confirmed the news with campaign sources.
Yang last week snagged the endorsements of activists from nine Chassidic groups in Boro Park as well as the administrator of the Bnos Chaya school, following a meeting with Orthodox officials in Eichenstein’s home, which Yeger also attended. In March, Yang received the support of Queens Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, the only Orthodox elected official to have made an endorsement in the race thus far. An entrepreneur who ran for president in 2020 but has never held public office, Yang has aggressively courted the Orthodox community, taking stances in favor of yeshiva independence from government oversight and against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
“I am excited that Kalman and Simcha are joining the Yang Gang,” Rosenthal told Hamodia on Sunday. “These endorsements, as well as those by the Boro Park Chassidic groups last week, are the result of the extensive outreach Andrew Yang has done in the Orthodox community, and the unabashed concern he has shown for the issues facing us.”
While most previous polls had shown Yang with at least a nine- or double-digit-point lead on his nearest opponent, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, two new polls released over the weekend show a tightening race for the June 22nd Democratic primary.
One poll shows Yang leading Adams by only five points — the tightest of any poll thus far — with 22% of first-place votes to Adams’ 17%, and city Comptroller Scott Stringer in third place with 11%. Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive, each have 8%; Shaun Donovan, a former HUD secretary and New York City housing commissioner, and nonprofit executive Dianne Morales each have 7 percent; former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has 5%; with 14% of respondents undecided. The poll of 1,558 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted on behalf of StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter-school organization, by Benenson Strategy Group, the firm of Joel Benenson, who was pollster for former President Barack Obama. The margin of error is 2.5%.
“The more New Yorkers get to know Eric, the more they like him,” an Adams campaign spokesperson told Hamodia. “His message of a safer, fairer more prosperous city is clearly breaking through.”
The poll was conducted before Stringer was accused last week of harassment by a volunteer on a 2001 campaign, which Stringer denied. Stringer lost several endorsements following the allegation, and some opponents have called for him to drop out of the race.
The Yang campaign also released its own internal poll, which shows Yang with 24% of first-place votes, in the first mayoral race to use the new ranked-choice voting system. This poll — also taken before the allegation against Stringer was made public — shows Stringer in second place with 16%, followed by Adams at 11%, McGuire at 9%, Wiley and Donovan at 6%, Morales at 5%; Garcia and attorney Aaron Foldenauer at 3%; and 14% of survey participants undecided. The poll, of 824 likely Democratic primary voters, has a margin of error of 3.5%.
Evan Roth Smith, a pollster for Slingshot Strategies who conducts the Yang campaign’s internal polling, told Hamodia that the poll had intended to survey a thousand people, but cut off at 824 people on Tuesday night, when news broke of the accusation against Stringer.
In the Slingshot poll, 3% of respondents were Orthodox Jews, 21% of whom gave Yang their first-place vote, with 12% supporting Stringer, 9% for Donovan, 8% for McGuire and 6% for Wiley. Adams, who has longstanding ties with Orthodox communities in Brooklyn, received zero votes. Smith acknowledged that the Orthodox surveyed were but a small sample size, and that the margin of error for that group was higher than that of the overall poll.
An Adams spokesperson told Hamodia, “Yang certainly got what he paid for with this ridiculous poll,” adding, in reference to the Benenson poll, “Obama’s pollster said Yang is falling apart. What other evidence is needed?”
Smith, the Yang pollster, responded with a defense of his polling, and criticism of the Adams campaign for having not released its own internal polls.
“Our internal polling has been repeatedly consistent with independent polling, including NY1’s, and if the Adams campaign has data that shows different, I encourage them to release it instead of casting aspersions,” said Smith. “The Adams campaign repeatedly refuses to release its own data. What do they have to fear?”
The race may well shake up once the candidates begin TV advertising in earnest. Many of the candidates have millions of dollars in the bank, and a slew of ads are expected to hit the airwaves over the next seven weeks.