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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stands publicly accused of sexual harassment by seven women, is under federal investigation for covering up nursing home COVID-19 deaths, and faces an impeachment investigation from state lawmakers. And despite all of this, a new poll found barely a third of New York voters want the governor to resign.
Only 35% of New Yorkers surveyed said that Gov. Cuomo should immediately resign following his sexual harassment and nursing home scandals, according to a new Siena poll. Half of voters surveyed, 50%, said the governor should not resign. A plurality of voters, 48% to 34%, also said Cuomo can continue to effectively do his job as governor.
Only one-third of voters believe that Cuomo committed sexual harassment, one-quarter of voters say he did not, and a plurality of voters are unsure. Overall, the poll found New Yorkers are satisfied with the way Cuomo has responded to the allegations by a margin of 57%-32%.
Cuomo is accused by multiple women of inappropriate touching, kissing women without their permission, and one accusation that he "aggressively groped" a female aide working at the governor's mansion. That last accusation may have risen "to the level of a crime," Albany police officials said last week after state police and the governor's lawyers contacted them about the alleged incident.
The governor has repeatedly denied all of the allegations against him, insisting that New Yorkers wait for a report from independent investigators appointed by the New York state attorney general's office, who are reviewing the allegations.
On the question of Cuomo's handling of the pandemic, voters' opinions are virtually unchanged from last month. A majority of 60% of New Yorkers approved of his handling of the pandemic, while just 33% disapproved. Most voters approved of how Cuomo communicates, said he provides "accurate information," and agreed with his plans for reopening New York.
The only mark Cuomo scored poorly on was making COVID-related nursing home death data public, with 66% of voters grading the governor "fair" or "poor." An aide to the governor admitted last month that the Cuomo administration hid data on nursing home deaths for fear of the political ramifications to be faced for publishing it. The New York Times reported last week that aides to the governor rewrote a report on nursing home deaths to hide the fact that 9,000 senior citizen residents had died of COVID-19 after Cuomo's controversial executive order placing COVID-19 patients in nursing homes.
"Voters appear to be able to compartmentalize how they feel about Cuomo. While their views on him generally – favorability, job performance, re-elect – 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," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said. "Two-thirds of New Yorkers, including 56 percent of Democrats, give him a negative grade for making public all data about COVID-related deaths of nursing home patients."
Though both Republican and state Democratic leaders have called on the governor to resign in recent weeks, Cuomo has adamantly refused to do so. In a statement released Monday, the chairman of the New York Democratic Party appeared to call on state Democrats to back down, saying the party should "focus on getting the work of government done."
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