Cuomo’s favorability edges up; 49 percent say he should not resign

Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Voters say Gov. Andrew Cuomo should not resign by a 49-41 percent margin, compared to a 51-37 percent majority who said he should not resign last month, according to a new Siena College poll of registered New York state voters.

In a generic Democrat vs. Republican 2022 gubernatorial matchup, the Democrat leads 55-29 percent. When asked about Cuomo vs. a Republican, voters side with Cuomo 48-38 percent. And when asked about Attorney General Letitia James vs. a Republican, voters favor James 46-29 percent.

Cuomo’s favorability rating currently stands at 44-to-48 percent, up from 40-to-52 percent last month.

His job performance rating is negative 42-to-55 percent, virtually unchanged from 42-to-56 percent in April.

Right now, 37 percent of registered voters say they are prepared to re-elect Cuomo if he runs next year, compared to 53 percent who prefer “someone else,” which is up from 33-57 percent last month. By a margin of 58-to-35 percent, voters approve of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, down a little from 60-to-32 percent in April.

“To determine how voters view Cuomo this month one has to look at a pint glass with eight ounces of liquid and decide if the glass is half full or half empty,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Cuomo defenders will point to the uptick in his favorability and re-elect ratings, that a solid majority continues to approve of his handling of the pandemic, and more voters still say he should not resign rather than resign immediately. His favorability and job ratings, they might note, are better than February 2020, the month before the pandemic.

“On the other side, the governor’s detractors will point to favorability, job performance and re-elect ratings that remain under water, a downtick in his pandemic approval rating and a rising number of New Yorkers, 41 percent – up from 37 percent in April and 35 percent in March – who say he should immediately resign,” Greenberg said.

The poll of 793 registered voters was conducted May 16-20, and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

“Democrats continue to say Cuomo should not resign by a two-to-one margin, as Republicans say he should resign by a now larger than two-to-one margin,” Greenberg said. “Last month a plurality of independents said he should not resign; now independents are evenly divided on that question, even while giving Cuomo strongly negative favorability, job performance and re-elect ratings.

“By a nearly two-to-one margin, 42-24 percent, voters continue to say that Cuomo has committed sexual harassment, little changed from 44-22 percent last month,” Greenberg said. “Democrats are divided, while Republicans and independents think he has committed sexual harassment.”

“Overall, when it comes to the job he’s continuing to do during the pandemic, his numbers remain strong thanks to Democrats. On every pandemic measure other than nursing home data, at least two-thirds of Democrats give Cuomo a positive rating. However, at least 64 percent of Republicans give him negative grades on all the pandemic questions, and independents give him either negative or at best break-even grades,” Greenberg said.

Sneak peek at voters’ early thoughts on 2022 gubernatorial race in blue New York

“Asked to choose between an unnamed Democrat and an unnamed Republican as their preference for Governor in 2022, the results – a 55-to-29 percent Democratic lead – reflect New York’s overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage. That 26-point lead is built by 87 percent of Democrats siding with the Democrat, 78 percent of Republicans siding with the Republican, and independents being virtually evenly divided,” Greenberg said.

“When voters were told that the Democrat was Cuomo running against an unnamed Republican, the race tightens significantly. Cuomo leads the generic Republican, 48-38 percent, a 10-point lead. And when voters were told that the Democrat was James running against an unnamed Republican, James leads 46-29 percent, a 17-point lead,” Greenberg said.

“While James does better than Cuomo against an unnamed Republican with nearly every demographic group, it’s independent voters that stand out. Independent voters side with James by three points over an unnamed Republican, while the unnamed Republican beats Cuomo by 18 points with independents,” Greenberg said. “Cuomo leads among Black voters by 47 points and he trails with white voters by nine points. However, James leads among Black voters by 61 points and she leads among white voters by five points.”

James has a 38-20 percent favorability rating – down a little from 39-17 percent in April – while two in five voters either never heard of her, or don’t know enough about her to have an opinion.

Odds & Ends

  • 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.