According to a Siena College poll released Monday, just 35% of New York voters want Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. Most importantly for Cuomo’s political future, that number includes only 25% of self-identified Democrats. Six in ten (61%) Democrats and half (50%) of all New York voters think he should not resign.
Calls for the governor to resign erupted over the past few weeks as several allegations of sexual misconduct have come to light. The number of accusers now stands at 7, including staffers working in the administration within the past year.
The opinion of New York voters apparently stands in sharp contrast with the stances taken by their elected representatives. As of yesterday, 16 out of 19 New York House delegates have called on Cuomo to resign over the allegations.
Reviewing the data, “voters appear to be able to compartmentalize how they feel about the governor,” Siena spokesperson Steve Greenberg said in a statement.
Voters’ reticence on a Cuomo resignation is particularly noteworthy in light of Cuomo’s sinking approval rating. The same poll found the governor underwater with overall approval, 43% to 45%, yet strikingly, a full 57% of voters feel “satisfied with the way the governor addressed the allegations,” versus just 32% who were “not satisfied”.
In a press conference Friday, Cuomo emphatically stated that he is “not going to resign.”
“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth. Let the review proceed. I am not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians. I was elected by the people. Part of this is I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I’m proud of it,” Cuomo said.
The other scandal affecting Cuomo’s polling numbers involves recent revelations that his administration purposefully obfuscated data about thousands of preventable nursing home deaths this past year.
The revelations are particularly stunning when contrasted with the fawning coverage Cuomo received at the height of the pandemic. Recall his International Emmy win for his daily briefings, his self-congratulatory book about leadership during the pandemic, and the gleeful distribution of propagandistic posters about “America’s governor.”
Yet still, 48%, believe the governor can “effectively do his job,” compared to only 34% who think he “cannot”.
The mixed data regarding voter confidence in governor Cuomo may reflect the mixed feelings many Americans have about the MeToo era standards, as well as the general fatigue many feel in response to media whiplash. While voters have cooled substantially on the governor over the past few months, they reject the idea that elected officials must automatically resign in the wake of allegations.
The slogan “Believe Women” became a meme of hypocrisy when allegations against President Joe Biden were broadly dismissed during the final stages of the 2020 primary, and voters are weary of it. Many voters appear to be signaling that they reject haste in rushing to conclusions on such allegations. Despite the robust credibility of the allegations, most voters prefer to wait for an investigation, and ultimately they prefer to settle things at the ballot box.
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