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New Siena Poll Shows New Yorkers Don’t Want Gov. Cuomo To Resign

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.

New Yorkers are unhappy with embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but a poll shows they don’t think he should resign.

A poll taken in early March found 51 percent of New York voters felt the third-term Democrat should not immediately resign as he denied sexual harassment allegations and faced multiple investigations.

Siena’s Steve Greenberg says a new survey conducted last week finds voters now say Governor Cuomo should not resign by a 49-41 percent margin.

"One has to look at a pint glass with eight ounces of liquid in it, and decide if that glass is half-full or half-empty. Cuomo defenders will point to the uptick in his favorability and re-elect ratings. A solid majority continuing to approve of his handling of the pandemic. And more voters still say he should not resign, rather than he should resign immediately. His favorability and job performance ratings, they know, are better now than they were in February 2020, the month before the pandemic. But on the other hand, the governor detractors will point to his favorability rating, his job performance rating, and his re-elect ratings, that all remain underwater. A downtick in his pandemic approval rating and a rising number of New Yorkers, now 41%, up from 37% last month who say he should resign immediately."

Greenberg notes that Republicans say the governor should resign by a now larger than two-to-one margin, with independents now evenly divided on that question, even while giving Cuomo strongly negative favorability, job performance and re-election ratings.

"42 to 24% of voters continue to say that Cuomo has committed sexual harassment, although it's little changed from 44 to 22% last month. Asked to choose between an unnamed Democrat and an unnamed Republican, is there preference for the governor's race in 2022?  The results reflect New York's overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage. Right now 55% say they prefer to elect a Democrat, 29% say they would prefer to elect a Republican. A Democratic margin of 27 points. Yet, when we told voters that Cuomo might be that Democrat running against an unnamed Republican, at that point, Cuomo leads the generic Republican 48 to 38% or a 10-point lead. And when we told voters 'what if it was Attorney General Tish James who was the Democrat?' At that point James leads the generic Republican 46 to 29%, a 17-point lead."

The poll shows Cuomo leading among Black voters by 47 points and trailing with white voters by nine points. James leads among Black voters by 61 points and she leads among white voters by five points. She has a 38-20% favorability rating – down a little from 39-17% in April – while two in five voters either never heard of her or don’t know enough about her to have an opinion.

Greenberg says overall, when it comes to Governor Cuomo's job performance during the pandemic, his numbers remain strong thanks to Democrats. On every pandemic measure other than nursing home data, the survey shows at least two-thirds of Democrats give Cuomo a positive rating. About 64 percent of Republicans give him negative grades on all the pandemic questions, and independents give him either negative or break-even grades.

Siena also asked about COVID-19. 

"Voters strongly support a law to require college students be vaccinated before they return in the fall by a 62 to 32% margin. And by a 69 to 19% margin voters say the worst of the pandemic is over rather than it's still the worst is yet to come."

Green notes that in January, 55% of New Yorkers thought the worst of the pandemic was still to come.

A Cuomo spokesperson declined to comment on the poll.  View poll results HERE.

Additional Poll Information:

  • Among the announced 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidates (this poll was fielded prior to Andrew Giuliani’s announcement), Rep. Lee Zeldin, has an 20-19 percent favorability rating, little changed from 18-17 percent last month. Former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has a 20-15 percent favorability rating (32-41 percent the last time Siena asked, in October 2014).
  • President Joe Biden has a 62-34 percent favorability rating, virtually unchanged from 62-33 percent in April. His job performance rating is 53-45 percent, exactly the same as last month.
  • Sixty-six percent of voters now say they have been vaccinated, with another 15 percent planning to. Seventeen percent of voters say they don’t plan to get the vaccinated, up from 14 percent last month but still down from 21 percent in March and 25 percent in January.
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer has a 50-39 percent favorability, virtually unchanged from 49-38 percent in April. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s favorability rating is 41-32 percent, down from 43-27 percent in March. Rep. Elise Stefanik, newly part of House Republican leadership, has a 24-26 percent favorability rating.

This Siena College Poll was conducted May 16-20, 2021 among 793 New York State registered voters with 493 voters contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 300 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel (Lucid) of New Yorkers. Telephone calls were conducted in English and respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (ASDE) and cell phone (Dynata) telephone numbers within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from both collection modes (phone and web) was merged and statistically adjusted by age, party by region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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