Cuomo poll numbers sink amid sexual harassment allegations

Majority of US Congress members from New York call on Cuomo to resign

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Judith Miller weighs in on the embattled governor facing increasing pressure to step down

Embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorable rating among New Yorkers is quickly dropping, according to a new poll, as the three-term Democratic governor faces a chorus of calls to step down amid mounting sexual harassment allegations from former staffers and a federal probe into whether his administration covered up the deaths of nursing home residents from the coronavirus.

Cuomo’s favorable rating stands at 43% in a Siena College survey released on Monday, with 45% of those questioned saying they have an unfavorable view of the governor. Cuomo’s favorable rating sank 13 points in a month in Siena polling. The governor had a 56%-39% favorable/unfavorable rating in February.

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But half of New Yorkers in the new poll say Cuomo should not immediately resign, with 35% saying the governor should step down. Less than half of those surveyed – 48% – say the governor can continue to effectively do his job – with a third saying he’s unable to effectively perform his duties. And a third say Cuomo has committed sexual harassment, with a quarter saying he hasn’t, and four in 10 unsure.

The poll was conducted Monday through Friday of last week – March 8-12 – which was mostly before the end-of-week surge of calls by much of New York’s congressional delegation and an increasing number of state lawmakers for the governor to resign.

In that camp are now at least 135 state lawmakers and at least 26 members of the state’s congressional delegation – including longtime Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler and two-term progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The state’s two Democrats in the Senate – Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – joined those calls on Friday. “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign,” they urged in a joint statement.

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Cuomo is facing an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations that’s being steered by New York Attorney General Letitia James, and the state assembly has launched a separate investigation that could lead to impeachment proceedings against the governor.

Cuomo is resisting calls to resign as he continues to emphasize that people should wait until the results of the attorney general’s investigation before making up their minds and passing judgment. While he has apologized for making some women uncomfortable, he’s denied that he ever inappropriately touched a woman.

“Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear, there is still a question of the truth, I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” he said in a press conference last week.

“There are often many motivations for making an allegation and that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision,” he added, saying those who are calling for him to resign are being “reckless and dangerous.”

The governor and his office have also pushed back on the nursing home deaths cover-up allegations, denying that nursing home fatality data was altered.

The poll indicates that voters are satisfied – by a 57%-32% margin – with the way Cuomo has addressed the multiple allegations. And the governor’s approval on handling the pandemic stands at 60%-33%, virtually unchanged from a month ago.

“While many elected officials – Democrats and Republicans alike – have called for Cuomo’s resignation, by a 50-35% margin, the voters of New York say Cuomo should not immediately resign. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say Cuomo should resign, however, 61% of Democrats and 46% of independents, a plurality, say he should not,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “A majority of New York City voters and a plurality of voters from both upstate and the downstate suburbs say he should not resign.”

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But Cuomo’s overall approval rating is eroding. It stands at 46%-52% approval/disapproval in the new survey, down from 51%-47% last month. And if Cuomo sticks by his previous decision to run next year for a fourth term as governor, 52% say they would “prefer someone else,” up six points from February.

The Siena College Poll was conducted using live telephone operators, with 805 New York State registered voters questioned. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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