A new poll has found that despite the growing number of sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo, the majority of New York voters are not in any kind of rush to have the governor booted out of office.
Conducted by the Siena College Research Institute, the poll determined 50% of surveyed New Yorkers believe Cuomo should not immediately resign as the Empire State’s governor, with voters believing he can continue to effectively carry out his duties.
Only 35% of voters agreed it was time to say sayonara to Cuomo. However, that’s not to say voters believe Cuomo is guilty-free of any sort of wrongdoing, as another 35% of surveyed individuals stated the New York governor had in fact committed sexual harassment.
To date, Cuomo has been accused by at least six women of sexual misconduct. The allegations, which were voiced by many women who served Cuomo as former aides, ranged between inappropriate or sexually aggressive comments, unwanted kissing and groping.
Former aide Charlotte Bennett, who previously served as an executive assistant and health-policy adviser for the Cuomo administration, revealed to The New York Times that when she worked alongside Cuomo, he had made multiple inquiries about her sex life. At one point, Cuomo had even asked Bennett whether she had ever been sexually involved with an older man.
As allegations against Cuomo have increasingly trickled in, politicians in New York and Washington have called on the governor to step aside and submit his resignation, to no avail. Despite the allegations and the majority of state legislators calling for Cuomo to resign, he has repeatedly refused to do so.
Rather than submitting his resignation, Cuomo has instead acknowledged that his past behavior “made people feel uncomfortable,” and since vowed to comply with the ongoing independent investigation being conducted by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.
"I'm going to do the job the people in this state elected me to do," Cuomo stated during a news conference held in the wake of the allegations.
The Siena College poll found 57% of those surveyed were wholly satisfied with the manner in which Cuomo has handled the allegations, whereas 32% were not content. And yet, surprisingly, the governor’s favorability standings have plummeted to one of their lowest after slumping down to 43%. An earlier survey conducted by the institute in February found that his favorability rate stood at 56%.
Additionally, researchers determined only 34% of voters would be willing to reelect Cuomo during the next gubernatorial race in 2022. Another 52% said that they preferred “someone else.”
“Voters appear to be able to compartmentalize how they feel about Cuomo,” Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, said in a statement accompanying the Monday release. “While their views on him generally – favorability, job performance, reelect – 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.”
Two-thirds of those surveyed indicated they did not approve of how the Cuomo administration withheld data that gave insight into the amount of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19. The scandal revealed the nursing home death toll was 50% higher than initially reported.
The poll was conducted in New York from March 8 to 12, and included responses from 805 registered voters.
The findings came just days after the New York State Assembly announced last week that it had initiated an impeachment investigation against Cuomo that will look into both the sexual misconduct claims and the COVID-19-related nursing home deaths that were not made public.