Half of New York state registered voters do not believe Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo should immediately resign, a poll released on Monday by Siena College finds, despite mounting pressure for him to step aside in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, as well as his handling of Covid-19 deaths at state nursing homes.
A minority of voters, 35%, said that he should immediately resign, with 15% not sure, according to the poll, which was conducted March 8 through 12.
The survey ended on the same day that a majority of New York congressional Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called for Cuomo to resign. More than 50 Democratic New York state lawmakers have also called for the governor to step down.
Still, the poll finds a sharp partisan split: 61% of Democratic voters say Cuomo should not immediately resign (25% say he should), while 64% of Republicans want him to step down now. Among independents, 46% say Cuomo should not immediately resign versus 32% who say he should.
Cuomo has apologized for his behavior but continues to steadfastly reject calls for his resignation. An investigation led by the New York attorney general's office into the matter is underway, and Cuomo is also the subject of an impeachment investigation after the speaker of the New York State Assembly authorized the judiciary committee to begin a probe.
"I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this. First, I fully support a woman's right to come forward. And I think it should be encouraged in every way," Cuomo said earlier this month. "I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it, and that's not easy to say but that's the truth."
A majority of voters, 57%, said they were satisfied with the way that the governor has addressed allegations of sexual harassment, while 32% said they were not and 11% either didn't know or didn't have an opinion. Sixty-seven percent of Democrat voters are satisfied while 22% are not satisfied. Fifty-four percent of men said they were satisfied while 59% of women said the same.
Still, more say that Cuomo has committed sexual harassment (35%) than those who say he has not (24%). A sizable 41% say they don't know or have no opinion.
Cuomo is also facing criticism over his administration's underreporting the number of Covid deaths among New York's long-term care patients, according to a state attorney general report, and then delayed sharing potentially damaging information with state lawmakers.
Until late January, long-term care residents who died of Covid-19 were classified that way only if they passed away inside of a facility. Those who died after being transferred out or to a hospital were not included in that specific figure. The overall number of Covid deaths in New York remained the same, but the practice led to a dramatic misrepresentation of the actual toll in New York's long-term care facilities.
The governor and his administration have defended their decision, arguing that with both the Justice Department and New York state lawmakers asking questions, the federal inquiry became their priority. The governor has denied any suggestion of wrongdoing.
The Siena poll also finds voters are increasingly likely to say they will not vote to reelect Cuomo for a fourth term. Only 34% of voters said they were prepared to reelect Cuomo if he runs for in 2022, while 52% say they would "prefer someone else." In February, 46% of voters said that they vote to reelect him for a fourth term.
The poll, which surveyed 805 voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points and was conducted by telephone.
This story has been updated with additional background information.