Gov. Andrew Cuomo's popularity has taken a hit since seven women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, but it's not enough to want him to resign, according to a new poll from the Siena College Research Institute. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they’re “satisfied with the way Cuomo has addressed the allegations,” while 32 percent say they are “not satisfied.” And only 35 percent of those surveyed said they think the governor should resign over the sexual misconduct allegations.
“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.”
Local outlets suggest that the poll gives Cuomo some "breathing room." But, as we reported on Monday, Cuomo has a third scandal on his hands. His "vaccine czar" is accused of linking vaccine supply to counties to their political support of the governor. And he's still facing condemnation for last year's mandate that forced COVID patients back into nursing homes.
Despite the poll, strategists say that from the moment we learned from state AG Letitia James that the Cuomo administration undercounted nursing home deaths, his long-term career was in trouble.
“From the minute (Letitia James) released that report on the nursing homes, that was the speculation amongst political folks on both sides of the aisle, that she might very well have ambitions to take him on in the primary and that was the first effort to bloody him up and it certainly did," Republican political strategist Carl Calabrese said.
Leading Democrats, including New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, called on Cuomo to step down over the sexual harassment charges. Others, like New York Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs, suggest that since the governor indicated he's not going to resign, it's time to move on.
New statement from @nydems chair:— Jesse McKinley (@jessemckinley) March 15, 2021
"Now that...[most]...Dem. elected official has made their views known [saying @NYGovCuomo should resign], and the Governor has made clear that he has no intention of resigning....it is [time]...to focus on getting the work of government done."
If Cuomo hangs on, it would be reminiscent of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's fizzled-out scandal. When the blackface controversy erupted in 2019, leaders, including Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, called on him to resign. But he's still there.