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Siena poll: Most NYers say Cuomo shouldn't seek 4th term

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in New York on Oct. 5, 2020.  Credit: Bloomberg/Jeenah Moon

ALBANY — Most New York voters say Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo shouldn’t seek a fourth term next year, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Siena Research Institute found 23% of voters polled said Cuomo should resign immediately as he fights allegations of sexual harassment and other controversies and 39% said he should finish his term, but not seek another term.

"When you add those voters," said Steven Greenberg of the Siena poll, "62% say he should not run for a fourth term."

Greenberg said, "Sixteen months from the next gubernatorial election and less than a year from the primary, only one-third of New Yorkers — including just 43% of Democrats — think Cuomo should run for reelection."

The poll results changed little from a month ago on most questions.

Cuomo has no specific opponent yet, so the poll did not include head-to-head comparisons. On Monday, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) won 85% of the weighted vote in a nonbinding straw poll among Republican leaders in most counties. A GOP nominee is expected to be chosen in early 2022.

Cuomo is accused of sexual harassment, misleading the State Legislature on the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19, and using his staff to help with his memoir on his leadership during the pandemic. An Assembly committee that is investigating the sexual harassment claims and his handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes said Wednesday it will issue subpoenas and take testimony under oath.

State Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating the sexual harassment accusations and whether Cuomo improperly used state staff and resources to edit his memoir. In addition, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the administration's delay in releasing data on nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment accusations and said his staff volunteered their personal time to help edit his book. He also said he didn’t mislead the legislature on nursing home deaths, but instead delayed releasing figures until they were complete and accurate.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee’s probe could lead to impeachment proceedings.

Cuomo’s senior adviser said Thursday that the poll shows strength for the governor as he fights back against accusations.

"When (voters) hear the true story and the political games people are playing it will be much different," said senior adviser Rich Azzopardi. He also noted that just 13% of Democrats called on Cuomo to resign, despite many elected Democrats from Washington to Albany who called for him to quit months ago.

"Clearly, Democrats believe the governor more than the politicians, ‎" Azzopardi said.

The poll found 45% of voters said Cuomo shouldn’t be impeached, but 35% of voters, including a quarter of Democrats, "would like to see the Assembly impeach the governor," Greenberg said. The remainder were undecided.

Overall, the poll found 45% of voters viewed Cuomo favorably, compared to 47% who didn’t — a statistical tie. The poll said 56% of voters gave Cuomo a negative job rating compared with 41% who gave him a positive rating.

Within the Democratic Party, Cuomo was supported for reelection by 50% of Democrats. Another 27% of voters without a party affiliation also would reelect Cuomo. Within racial and ethnic groups, 58% of Black voters would vote to reelect Cuomo along with 41% of Latino voters, according to the poll.

The poll questioned 809 registered voters June 22 through Tuesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

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