Half of New Yorkers say governor Cuomo should stay despite scandals

Only 40 per cent of New York registered voters have a favourable view of Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to a poll. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - A new poll out on Monday (April 19) said half of New York voters think Mr Andrew Cuomo should continue leading the state despite the multiple scandals surrounding him, although an overwhelming majority of those surveyed do not want the embattled Democratic governor to run for re-election in 2022.

Mr Cuomo's approval rating in the Siena College poll has sunk to its lowest point since he took office in 2011, with only 40 per cent of New York registered voters having a favourable view of him.

That is down from 56 per cent in February and a high of 77 per cent reached last year during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the poll.

"His ratings continue to push further into negative territory," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Mr Cuomo's standing with everyday New Yorkers has severely diminished after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and inappropriate workplace behaviour, as well as accusations that his administration covered up Covid-19 nursing home deaths and provided family members with special access to Covid-19 tests.

Dozens of lawmakers in his own party have called for him to step down and he faces both state and federal investigations into his behaviour. He also faces an impeachment investigation in the state assembly.

None of the investigators has offered a timeline on when the probes will conclude.

But in recent weeks, Mr Cuomo has held steady. He has tried to project an image that he is undeterred by the investigations and focused on governing, through numerous public events flanked by long-time supporters.

He successfully passed a US$212 billion (S$282 billion) state budget earlier this month, albeit making a number of compromises with the state legislature - including raising taxes on the wealthy - in order to get the spending plan approved.

Mr Cuomo's public opinion polls are significant because the governor has steadfastly refused to quit and relied on the polls to bolster his decision to stay in office.

He has denied claims that he touched anyone inappropriately and said his administration's actions around Covid-19 nursing home data were in line with federal guidance.

The Monday poll also showed how Mr Cuomo's approval ratings swing wildly depending on party, demographic and voter residence. Nearly two-thirds of black New Yorkers view Cuomo favourably, compared with 36 per cent of white voters, and 50 per cent of New York City voters view him favourably compared with 32 per cent of upstate New Yorkers.

The younger and more wealthy voters are, the less favourable their views of Mr Cuomo, the poll showed.

If he does run for re-election, voters may have to decide which they want less: Mr Cuomo as governor, or a Republican.

Right now, just 33 per cent of registered voters are prepared to re-elect Mr Cuomo next year if he runs, while 57 per cent prefer someone else.

But voters, by a 52 per cent to 32 per cent margin, say they would rather have a Democrat winning next year's gubernatorial election.

In recent weeks, a number of Republican challengers - including two members of Congress - have said they are considering gubernatorial bids.

Although Mr Cuomo has faced competitive primaries before, no Democrats have yet declared their intentions to run.

The latest poll was conducted from April 1 to 15 among 801 New York state registered voters and has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

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