New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has a healthy lead over Republican challenger Lee Zeldin early in her bid for a full, four-year term, according to a pair of public opinion polls released Tuesday.

Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, garnered support from 53% of likely voters polled last week by Siena College, a 14-point lead over Zeldin. A separate Emerson College effort showed the governor with a slightly larger lead – 51% to Zeldin’s 35%.

The two polls mark the first to be publicly released since Hochul and Zeldin, a Long Island congressman, cruised to victory in their respective parties’ June 28th primary elections, setting up a Nov. 8 clash between the two candidates. The candidates have spent the last few weeks attacking each other's records, with Hochul characterizing Zeldin as a far-right Republican and Zeldin accusing the governor of being too soft on crime, a cornerstone issue in this election.

Hochul is holding the vast majority of Democrats, Zeldin is holding the vast majority of Republicans. They're basically dividing independents – and yet Hochul has a 14-point lead.

Siena pollster Steve Greenberg

Matched up against Zeldin, Hochul made her mark among women — 59% to Zeldin’s 33%; New York City residents — 70%-21%; and, especially, Black voters 78%-8%, according to the Siena poll.

But Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said Hochul’s 14-point lead is largely a reflection of a larger truth: Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1 in New York.

"Hochul is holding the vast majority of Democrats, Zeldin is holding the vast majority of Republicans. They're basically dividing independents – and yet Hochul has a 14-point lead,” Greenberg said to illustrate his point.

Along with Hochul, the two polls showed other Democrats with significant leads in all the statewide races on the ballot this year, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who held a 21-point lead over Republican Joe Pinion, according to Siena. Emerson had the gap slightly higher – 22 points.

The simultaneously released polls largely asked voters the same agreed-upon questions and were meant as something of an experiment, according to Greenberg.

Siena polls voters by having live callers place calls to cell phones and landlines. Emerson uses a variety of methods, polling voters by text links to cell phones, automated phone calls to landlines and online panels.

By using their different methodologies to ask the same questions, the two polling outfits wanted to determine if there was a major difference in their results in this poll, Greenberg said.

The experiment showed the two polls were generally within a few percentage points of each other, with a few exceptions – including the question of whether the United States is heading on the “right track” or the “wrong direction.”

Emerson found just 28% of voters thought the country is headed in the right direction. But Siena had it even lower – just 19%.

Both polls were conducted last week, with Siena in the field from July 24-28th and Emerson from July 26-28th, according to the colleges. Emerson polled 1,000 voters with a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Siena polled 806 likely voters, and its margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.