Cuomo down but not out as new poll fuels governor race speculation

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NEW YORK —  Most New Yorkers continue to have a less than favorable view of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but they still don’t want him to resign, a new poll shows.

The poll released by Siena College on Monday came as top Republican candidates in the 2022 gubernatorial race met in Albany.

Siena College polled more than 800 registered voters statewide, as it does monthly, and found Cuomo’s favorability dropped to 40% — down from 43% in March and 56% in February.

When asked about the survey on Monday, Cuomo said, “I’m going to focus on my job.”

The governor has said he will not resign despite many allegations against him, including mishandling nursing homes during the pandemic, sexually harassing several women, bullying lawmakers and using his office for personal gain.

There are separate, ongoing investigations led by the New York Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Assembly. In a letter released on Monday, the state comptroller also asked the state attorney general to investigate whether the governor used state resources to write and promote his book on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Siena College researchers found New Yorkers agree with Cuomo’s decision to stay in office, citing his handling of the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Of those who were polled, 51% said the governor should not resign and 52% said he can do his job even with the ongoing scandals and investigations.

Cuomo, who has said he does not “put much stock” in polling, could be setting up New York Democrats for a difficult decision in 2022 if he runs for a historic fourth term.

The Siena poll found only 33% of New Yorkers would re-elect Cuomo in 2022. However, the number jumps to 46% among Democrats, giving him a decent shot at winning a primary election.

If Cuomo is the nominee, the state’s heavily Democratic voter base will have to decide if they want to stick with the governor despite his scandals or elect the first Republican since George Pataki in 2002.

Pataki was relatively moderate in his politics, especially when compared to current Republicans considering a run for governor, who have staunchly supported former President Donald Trump. They include Andrew Giuliani — the son of the former New York City mayor who worked in the Trump administration — and Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, who voted to overturn the results of the presidential election even after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Zeldin, who already declared his candidacy for governor, said he’s raised $2.5 million and was among several high-ranking state Republicans at a meeting in Albany on Monday to discuss the party’s future.

“The governor has disgraced himself — been there too long — and it’s time for him to go,” Zeldin said upon leaving the meeting.

The congressman was asked twice if he was a viable contender to lead New York considering his well-known support for Trump and position on abolition. He side-stepped the questions and said he would focus on the economic and tax issues New Yorkers care about.

For the full results of the Siena College poll, click here.

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