- Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor/July 2nd, 2021
(The Center Square) – More New York voters are showing signs they’re ready to move on from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A poll released Thursday by Siena College found 56% of voters would want to vote for someone else if the embattled Democrat seeks a fourth term next year. That’s compared to just 35% who say they’re ready to vote for him again.
Those numbers are trending in the wrong direction for the governor. In May, 53% preferred someone else, while 37% said they’d vote to re-elect Cuomo.
A year ago, a New York was emerging from the initial wave of COVID-19, Cuomo had favorability marks that rivaled his first year in office a decade ago. Since then, he’s been the subject of increased scrutiny on both sides of the aisle thanks to a number of allegations.
His administration’s handling of nursing homes during the first weeks of the pandemic is the subject of a federal investigation. There have also been questions raised about a book he wrote last year on managing the pandemic.
In addition, several women, including current and former staffers, have come forward with allegations that Cuomo has either touched them inappropriately or made unwelcome advances toward them.
Besides the federal investigation, the state’s attorney general is overseeing an independent investigation into the harassment claims and the state Assembly Judiciary Committee is deciding whether to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.
He’s also faced numerous calls for his resignation, including from several Democrats in Albany and Washington.
“The good news for the governor is that only 23% of New Yorkers want him to resign immediately,” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a release. “However, when you add those voters to the 39% who say he should serve out his term but not seek re-election, 62% say he should not run for a fourth term.”
The poll comes less than a week after the New York State Republican Party held a straw poll of its county chairs. That vote showed U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin received 85% of the weighted vote, prompting Chairman Nick Langworthy to deem Zeldin the party’s presumptive gubernatorial candidate.
But Republicans face a steep task in taking back the executive mansion. Democrats outnumber the GOP by a large margin in the state, and the previous Siena Poll from late May showed an unnamed Democrat beating an unnamed Republican 55-29.
In the poll results released Thursday, which were based on interviews with 809 registered New York voters from June 22-29, 45% rated Cuomo favorably, compared to 47% unfavorably. In terms of handling the pandemic, 51% approved of his handling, compared to 32 who disapproved.
“By more than three-to-one – including a plurality of Republicans – voters say he’s done a good job managing the state’s vaccine program,” Greenberg said. “By more than two-to-one – with Republicans closely divided – they say he’s done a good job on keeping residents informed with accurate information.”
However, those numbers are weighed down by the fact 60% of all surveyed said Cuomo’s done a poor job of answering questions about the nursing home scandal.
Despite the falling numbers, Cuomo continues to move forward with plans to run for a fourth term. In a statement to reporters Thursday, Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, called the poll results “surprisingly positive” since voters have not heard the governor’s side.
Cuomo has refrained from commenting on the investigations as they’re ongoing.
“When they hear the true story and the political games people are playing, it will be much different,” Azzopardi said. “Also, it’s remarkable that only 13 percent of Democrats said the governor should resign even though virtually all Democratic politicians called for it. Clearly, Democrats believe the governor more than the politicians.”
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