Siena poll: Just 35 percent of New York voters want Cuomo to resign

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Demonstrators call on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign at a rally. | Scott Heins/Getty Images

ALBANY, N.Y. — Most New York voters are satisfied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s explanation of the sexual harassment allegations made against him and barely a third want him to resign, a Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday morning found.

The governor’s overall popularity has taken a hit over the past month, however. Only 43 percent of New Yorkers now view him favorably, while 45 percent view him unfavorably.

“Voters appear to be able to compartmentalize how they feel about Cuomo,” Siena spokesperson Steve Greenberg said in a statement. “While their views on him generally — favorability, job performance, re-elect — took a significant hit this month, voters’ views on Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic remain largely positive, except for his handling of nursing home death data.”

Cuomo’s numbers had already been gradually declining from the stratospheric highs they hit last spring. He’s now back around where he was before the pandemic; he polled at 44-50 favorable in a Siena poll in February 2020.

But as the governor fights back rapidly-spreading calls for him to leave office, it’s safe to assume that the numbers which will resonate the most are those finding that most voters aren’t ready for him to go.

A total of 57 percent of respondents say they’re “satisfied with the way Cuomo has addressed the allegations,” while 32 percent say they are “not satisfied.”

And 48 percent of voters think he can “effectively do his job.” That compares to 34 percent who say he “cannot.” On the resignation question, 35 percent of voters think he should leave office, 50 percent say he should not and 15 percent are undecided.

The poll was conducted last week, Monday through Friday, making it overlap with a surge in calls for his resignation that started with a Wednesday Times Union story detailing allegations that he groped a staffer.

Critically for Cuomo, however, only 25 percent of Democrats are calling for him to go. Democratic representatives are the ones who will ultimately need to decide if Cuomo should be impeached, and the support of the party’s primary voters are the most essential if he wants to retain any path to win a fourth term.

“Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say Cuomo should resign, however, 61 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents, a plurality, say he should not,” Greenberg said.

The poll isn’t that far from the findings of a Quinnipiac survey released 11 days ago, which was conducted after the harassment allegations began to dominate the public discussion. That poll found that 40 percent of voters want him to resign, while 55 percent do not.

And it’s presumably not terribly far off from the internal polling that Cuomo conducts on a regular basis. The governor has defied calls to resign by saying that “the people” still support him, and politicians should not ignore the will of their constituents.

“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth,” he said on Friday. “Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people. Part of this is that I am not part of the political club.”

Siena also found that Attorney General Tish James’ popularity has hit a record high. She’s now viewed favorably by a margin of 40-14, an increase from 36-17 last month.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul remains mostly unknown. She was viewed favorably by a margin of 23-14. That’s the first time Siena has asked about her popularity to a selection of general election voters.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.1 points. View the crosstabs here.

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