Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been in dire straits for weeks.
Most of New York’s leading politicians have now called on him to resign, and he doesn’t exactly have the full assurance of his nation ’s voters, as a Siena College survey released yesterday revealed. By an 18-point margin, respondents said they didn’t want him to run for a fourth term next year, because he had been widely expected to do, and his favorability rating is as low as it’s ever been.
But as harsh as these results might seem, the survey actually contained a remarkable amount of less-than-terrible news for the embattled governor. Just 35 percent of New York voters said he must immediately resign, while 50 percent said that he shouldnt. (Another 15 percent werent sure.)
And only 34 percent said they doubted he would be able to continue to govern effectively; 48 percent said he’d be, the survey found.
A decisive majority, 57 percent, said they were satisfied with the apology Cuomo gave this month, while just 32 percent said they weren’t.
Politics has been stated to make strange bedfellows, and in this instance Cuomo’s most reliable fans are some of the groups one may normally assume to be the most bothered by sexual harassment claims: namely, women and self-described liberal voters.
Women voters — who tendency more Democratic than men — were five points more likely than their male counterparts to state the governor shouldn’t resign (52 percent, compared with 47 percent). They were also five points more likely to call his apology satisfactory (59 percent, versus 54 percent of men).
Among liberals, a whopping 69 percent said they were satisfied with how he had addressed the allegations. Only 19 percent were dissatisfied.
Cuomo’s favorability has fallen the furthest among Democrats, from 78 percent in a Siena poll last month to 59 percent today. Thirty percent of Democratic voters in New York now hold a negative view of their governor. However, that’s a widely favorable score.
The Siena poll was conducted throughout last week, with a great majority of interviews happening before many high-profile politicians in the state called on Cuomo to resign, including almost the entire New York delegation in Congress. And late last week the State Assembly started an impeachment investigation focused on Cuomo’s actions toward women.
That investigation could turn up more damaging claims against him — and it is possible that more allegations could trickle out in news reports, as they have over the last two weeks, placing even greater pressure on the governor to step aside.
However, it’s clear from the poll that many New York voters don’t think his actions warrant booting him from office — at least not yet.
Cuomo’s pandemic ‘capital’
Don Levy, the director of polling in Siena, stated in an interview that the durability of Cuomos support seemed to be driven largely by his very public role in guiding the state through the coronavirus pandemic and now that vaccines are being widely dispersed, he may be reaping rewards.
Levy cited the great will and capital that he built up with weeks of daily appearances, press conferences, PowerPoints, and pointed to a finding from the poll that 65 percent of New York voters said the worst of the pandemic was now behind us the first time a majority has said this in a Siena poll.
You have to surmise that a sizable number of New Yorkers charge Andrew Cuomo to get us to this stage, Levy said.
Of course, his handling of the pandemic hasn’t been without hiccups. Last month, Cuomo publicly accepted responsibility for his role in curbing the official count of Covid-19-related deaths in New York’s nursing homes. Asked about a range of issues related to the pandemic, voters gave the governor positive marks on how he had handled all except publishing “all information ” about Covid-related deaths in nursing homes.
Still, his handling of the pandemic has been his strong suit. Sixty percent of respondents in the Siena poll approved of how he’d handled the virus. That ’s his lowest number yet on this question, but still almost two times as high as the share who said they disapproved.
In February 2020, a month before Covid-19 was announced a pandemic and Cuomo ordered a statewide shutdown, New York voters were slightly more inclined to say the state was headed in the wrong way than to say it was on the right track. But as soon as the pandemic began, and Cuomo positioned himself as a frontline fighter against the virus, that flipped.
The next month, New York voters said by over 2-to-1 that things were headed in the right direction in their nation, and their views haven’t flipped negative again since. (By comparison, New York voters’ views of where the country at large was headed remained generally negative all of last year.)
This time four years ago, as Cuomo neared the end of his second term, New York voters were divided on whether he should run again. Forty-eight percent said they ’d love to see him re-elected, and 41 percent said they ’d prefer that somebody else take the reins, as shown by a Siena poll at the moment. Finally, Cuomo easily fended off a primary challenge and won re-election handily.
Things are looking less beneficial for him today, with just 34 percent of the nation ’s voters — and just 46 percent of Democrats — saying they’d enjoy the opportunity to re-elect him. But Cuomo, despite being broadly disliked by many of his colleagues in Albany, has weathered storms in the past.
Hes taken a hit, Levy said. “And can he go lower? Absolutely. But right now, public opinion seems to be saying: ‘I’m prepared to wait this thing out for a little while. ’”