According to the Newsday/Siena College poll put out on Thursday, 48 per cent of likely voters support former Democratic Rep Tom Suozzi, and 44 per cent support Republican candidate Mazi Melesa Pilip. Another 7 per cent are undecided.
The neck-and-neck findings come days before the special election on 13 February, for which early voting has already begun.
Mr Suozzi, a moderate Democrat, previously held the seat from 2017 to 2023. Ms Pilip, a conservative, currently serves in the Nassau County Legislature.
The special election comes after Mr Santos was expelled from Congress in December. Weeks after winning his race, the Republican lawmaker was revealed to have lied about large swaths of his life and resume, including about his education, Wall Street career, and even about his mother surviving the September 11 attacks.
He also faces federal fraud charges, with prosecutors accusing him of “stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign.”
“Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “This Office will relentlessly pursue criminal charges against anyone who uses the electoral process as an opportunity to defraud the public and our government institutions.”