Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

A plurality of New York voters believe the state Assembly should not impeach Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while 35% would support an effort to remove him from office amid a range of controversies facing him this year, a Siena College poll released on Thursday found. 

At the same time, New York voters are mixed when presented with the options for Cuomo’s political future. Most want Cuomo to remain in office and finish his term, but the strongest preference is for him to not seek another four years for the post he’s held for the last decade. 

The poll comes as impeachment investigators met again on Wednesday to advance subpoenas as Cuomo is facing allegations of sexual harassment, questions over how his administration counted COVID-19 nursing home deaths of residents and whether he used government aides to help him write a book about the crisis last year. 

The survey of 809 registered voters was conducted from June 22 to June 29; it has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. The poll’s crosstabs can be found here.

There are multiple investigations facing the governor, including one being conducted by the state attorney general’s office into the sexual harassment claims, as well as a federal probe into the tabulations of nursing home fatalities by the state under Cuomo’s watch. 

The poll found 45% of New York voters oppose impeachment of Cuomo, while 20% remain undecided.

Among Cuomo’s base, 53% of Democratic voters polled do not support impeaching him; 25% support doing so. Among Black voters, from whom Cuomo has drawn consistent support during the last six months, 55% oppose impeachment; 17% support it. Independent voters are split, with 37% supporting impeaching him, 39% opposing. 

New Yorkers are mixed, too, when it comes to the governor’s future in elected office. The poll found 23% of voters want him to resign immediately; 39% want him to finish his current term in 2022 and not run again; 33% want him to remain in office and seek another four-year term. 

Only 13% of Democratic voters and 13% of Black voters want him to resign now; putting the majority of those voters at odds with top elected officials who have called on Cuomo to step down, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Today’s Siena poll is surprisingly positive because New Yorkers have only heard one side of the story and haven’t yet heard the truth,” said Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo. “When they hear the true story and the political games people are playing it will be much different. Also it’s remarkable that only 13% 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.‎”

There are now multiple Republicans seeking the GOP nomination ahead of the 2022 elections, and this week Rep. Lee Zeldin won a straw poll of GOP county chairs, a development that led state party leaders to call him the preferred candidate. 

Still, Cuomo’s base wants him to run again, including a plurarlity of Democrats at 43% and Black voters at 52%. 

And a majority of voters, 56% to 35%, would prefer a generic “someone else” to Cuomo winning re-election, the poll found, including 60% of independent voters and 42% of Democrats. 

But much remains unsettled for voters as the investigations continue, including among Democratic voters: 35% expect investigators will find evidence of sexual harassment while 36% of those voters do not and 29% don’t know.

Just over half of voters approve of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 51% to 32%, numbers that come as restrictions have eased as cases and hospitalizations have sharply declined in New York. The poll found voters believe Cuomo is doing a good job on vaccine distribution as well, 66% to 20%. When it comes to reopening New York, 54% of voters give Cuomo good marks compared to 33% who do not. 

But voters are less approving his handling of nursing homes, with 60% saying he has done a bad job of addressing questions over an undercounting of resident fatalities during the pandemic. 

His favorability rating among voters has changed little from the prior month, 45% favorable to 47 unfavorable. His job performance rating stands at a negative 41% to 56%, the poll found, also little changed since May, when 55% of voters disapproved of the job he is doing.