Many Hudson Valley voters are scratching their heads this morning after hearing Kathy Hochul was reelected as Governor. Just how did that happen?

Social media is filled with comments from voters shocked to hear that Lee Zeldin lost his bid to become the first Republican governor since George Pataki grabbed the seat in 1994. Many point to the fact that "everyone they know" voted for Zeldin and they haven't heard or seen anyone supporting Hochul at all. They're genuinely shocked that a "pro-crime crazy person" could win the gubernatorial election.

Sadly, the shock and disappointment many voters feel today is due to the echo chamber older voters have found themselves living in. Thanks to social media, many voters have simply lost touch with reality.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate For New York Lee Zeldin Campaigns On Staten Island
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Those who didn't grow up with the Internet or social media are still living in what psychologists refer to as a "bubble."  Facebook has become the de facto news source for many baby boomers who believe that what they are reading on their feed is what everyone else sees. In reality, algorithms curate comments and stories based on users' internet browsing history and interests. If you're a true blue democrat, you'll only see stories about how evil republicans are and if you're a MAGA voter your feed will only show stories about how conservatives are the best thing since sliced bread.

So, why did Hochul win if I've only seen Zeldin signs on every lawn?

While the race certainly tightened up over the past few weeks, Hochul was always favored to win and it would have been a major upset if she had lost. The race was very tight in the Hudson Valley, with Zeldin actually pulling more votes in Dutchess and Orange counties while Ulster county leaned heavily into Hochul. Of course, you have to remember that New York is much bigger than the Hudson Valley.

Cities like Syracuse, Buffalo and a small part of the Empire State known as New York City have millions more voters than the rest of the state combined. So even if every lawn in your town had a Zeldin sign on it and every person you know said they were voting for him, it's still statistically meaningless.

New York Gubernatorial Candidate Lee Zeldin Campaigns Outside Rikers Island
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Most normal people don't put signs on their lawn

The most important thing to keep in mind is that most people aren't crazy political vigilantes. While it may seem like everyone on Facebook is screaming and yelling about politics, it's actually a small percentage of the population that's doing all the ranting and raving. Internet analysts estimate that only six percent of the population on the extreme right and left are the ones doing all of the yelling and screaming. That small minority on both sides are the ones getting their voices amplified thanks to those social media algorithms.

In reality, the majority of Americans keep their politics private. Because that small group of political activists has become extremely rude and violent, it's no surprise that many of these normal voters don't want to step into the fray by putting a sign on their lawn.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul Holds Election Night Party In NYC
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So, relax. There's no huge conspiracy and you're not losing your mind. Also, Hochul isn't going to start letting murderers out of prison as those Facebook stories will have you believe. Perhaps you may want to consider taking a break from social media and going for a walk. Maybe stop and have a conversation with someone that has nothing to do with politics. You may find that the world, and New York State, has become a much nicer and saner place to live in.

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