New Yorkers may be grumbling a little bit less than they did a few weeks ago following a summer of falling gas prices. And, if that trend continues, it could be good news for Gov. Kathy Hochul as she seeks a full term.

Last week's Siena College poll found a plurality of voters still believe New York is heading in the wrong direction, 41% say it's on the right track, but 47% do not think so. But that's an improvement from April when a full 52% of voters were sour on the direction of New York.

"It's still below 50%, but a much more optimistic response than New York state voters rated the right track, wrong track for the nation: 31-59%," said Bruce Gyory, a SUNY Albany adjunct professor. "And that more optimistic mood helps Gov. Hochul."

Convincing voters that things are looking up won't be an easy task for any incumbent: Gas prices still remain higher than they were a year ago, utility bills are spiking as the cold-weather months set in and uncertainty over the economy is growing as the stock market sharply declines.

That same Siena College poll showed Hochul with a clear advantage over her Republican opponent, Rep. Lee Zeldin — a double-digit percentage point lead with clear advantages in New York City and a competitive race in the suburbs.

Zeldin, too, has sought to highlight New Yorkers' ongoing concerns over public safety and crime as shootings continue to plague communities across the state. His campaign on Saturday released another ad highlighting the crime issue.

“Whether it’s our police officers, correction officers, parole officers or others, our law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to protect us, but when Kathy Hochul strips them of the tools they need, these brave men and women and the law-abiding New Yorkers they’re sworn to protect get hurt,” Zeldin said.

A pair of super PACs, including one seeded by cosmetics executive Ronald Lauder, backing Zeldin's bid for governor, is pouring $4 million in TV and digital ads that knock Hochul's handling of crime. Those ads began airing in some areas of upstate New York and will also appear in suburban markets.

Whether those ads will peel off any of Hochul's support in the final month of campaigning remains to be seen. Gyory pointed to Hochul's strength with Jewish voters and women — two key slices of the New York electorate.

Voters in the Siena College poll last week ranked the economy for the first time this cycle over public safety as their top issue. Inflation continues to batter New Yorkers' wallets and businesses.

New York labor officials on Friday moved to shore up wages for low-income New Yorkers, backing a lower threshold for overtime for farm workers and setting in motion a $1 increase in the minimum wage north of Westchester County. The wage would reach $14.20 by the end of the year if given final approval.

Business groups, including the New York Farm Bureau and the National Federation of Independent Business, blasted the wage actions as a hindrance to their members' ability to operate in New York, an already expensive state for doing business.

But progressives, including Democratic lawmakers, cheered the developments.

"This is the right thing to do, and a compromise that reflects the collaborative and representative nature of the Farm Laborers Wage Board," said state Sen. Jessica Ramos, a key sponsor of the effort to expand overtime. "I look forward to seeing this adopted."