More than half of New York voters have a negative view of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, even as a similar majority do not believe he should resign from the office in the wake of myriad controversies he is facing, a Siena College poll released Monday morning found.
The poll shows Cuomo's favorable rating with voters in New York is now at 40%, with 52% holding a negative view of him. That's a decline from 43% to 45% split in March, and a drop from 56% to 39% in February.
But as Cuomo has faced ongoing controversies — allegations of sexual harassment, the under reporting of nursing home fatalities by his administration, a reported $4 million book deal that reportedly utilized help from government workers and preferential COVID testing for his family members among them — most voters, 51% to 37%, still do not believe he should resign.
The resignation number has not moved significantly since March, when voters were split 50% to 35% against his stepping down.
But warning signs for Cuomo's future remain. A plurality of voters, 44% to 22%, believe Cuomo committed sexual harassment, 34% remain undecided. A month ago, most voters, 41%, were undecided.
Meanwhile, a similar split of voters — 52% to 38% — believe Cuomo can effectively continue to do his job. And an even larger majority of voters in New York, 60% to 32%, approve of the governor's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, though most voters are skeptical Cuomo is being transparent with nursing home data.
Siena pollster Steve Greenberg tells Capital Tonight that these are the worst favorability numbers for the governor ever in a Siena College poll.
The poll highlights how Cuomo continues to remain in a precarious political situation amid multiple investigations into his behavior, his transparency and his use of power.
Cuomo in all instances has denied any wrongdoing.
Top Democrats in the state Legislature have called for Cuomo to resign as has most of the state's congressional delegation, including both U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
A federal investigation is examining the nursing home reporting; Attorney General Letitia James's office is investigating the sexual harassment and assault allegations; the Democratic-controlled state Assembly has launched an impeachment investigation that is drawing in nearly every bad news story for Cuomo since January.
And yet Cuomo's support among his base remains durable: 62% of Black voters hold a favorable view of him compared to 39% of white voters; 56% of Democratic voters hold a favorable view, as do 50% of suburban voters, the poll found.
Still, voters' views of the governor have steadily declined since a year ago when he rose to national prominence for his COVID-19 briefings.
The poll comes two weeks after state lawmakers put the finishing touches on a flurry of legislative action, including a $212 billion budget and the legalization of marijuana.
Voters approve of the cannabis legalization measure, 57% to 36%, and backed boosting tax rates on upper income earners, 72% to 20%. And a majority of New York voters are supportive of one of the more controversial provisions in the budget: the creation of a $2.1 billion fund to benefit undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic, 53% to 39%.
With a year and half to go, only 33% of New Yorkers would like to see Gov. Cuomo reelected for a fourth term in 2022. While voters aren’t embracing another term for Cuomo, a majority would like the office to remain in Democratic control by a margin of 52 to 32% over Republican control.
After a year of fighting COVID-19, New Yorkers seem to be optimistic about the fight with 60% of those polled believing the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Vaccine hesitancy could be a factor among party lines with twice as many Republicans (22%) not planning to get a vaccine compared to their Democratic counterparts (11%).
The poll of 801 registered voters was conducted from April 11 to April 15. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. The poll's crosstabs can be found here.