Poll: New Yorkers largely don't believe Andrew Cuomo

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool, File)

It’s a significant fall from “America’s shadow president” to “liar, liar, pants on fire,” but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to have accomplished the feat. All through the various scandals that have surrounded the Governor’s tenure for years, from the corruption in the “Buffalo Billion” funds and the nursing home debacle to the growing list of sexual assault accusers, Cuomo has seemed like the Teflon Don. His approval ratings with New Yorkers remained stubbornly above water despite coming under fire from both the Democrat-friendly media and leaders in his own party. But finally, the continued grind of endless bad news cycles appears to have taken its toll. The latest polling from Siena College reveals that a significant plurality of the state’s residents believe that the Governor is guilty of sexual harassment while less than a quarter are still buying his denials. Making matters worse, a majority don’t think he should be elected to another term next year. But as we’ll discuss in a moment, this somehow still may not be the final nail in the coffin of Cuomo’s political career. (NY Post)

A growing number of New Yorkers believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo committed sexual harassment, and his popularity has plummeted with a strong majority now saying they prefer someone else for governor instead of a Cuomo fourth term.

Forty four percent of registered voters compared to 22 percent said the third term Democrat has committed sexual harassment, a new poll released Monday by Siena College found, while 34 percent responded that they either didn’t know or had no opinion on the topic.

That includes 39 percent of registered Democrats who say they believe Cuomo is guilty of sexual harassment showing that he is hemorrhaging support within his Democratic base, compared to 30 percent who responded that he has not engaged in misconduct.

There’s no denying that those numbers are bad and no politician would want to see them. They also reflect a trend in the wrong direction and if they don’t start turning around, Cuomo’s viability as an elected official may yet reach the stage of being completely untenable. But as I suggested above, a deeper look into Siena’s figures indicates that he hasn’t reached the point of no return quite yet.

Amazingly, 51% of respondents still don’t believe that the Governor should resign. That’s a slim number, but it’s enough of a liferaft to keep Cuomo in the governor’s mansion for now. Even more shockingly, even if they believe he may have sexually harassed some of the women, 53% said they are satisfied with the way he handled the allegations and with the “apology” that he issued. (Spoiler alert: he never really apologized for anything other than making people “uncomfortable” because they “misunderstood” him.)

The big, damning number was the 57% who said they would prefer to vote for someone else next year rather than seeing Cuomo elected to a fourth term. But peeking under the covers of that question, among Democrats, 46% said that they would vote to reelect Cuomo while 43% said they would support another candidate. Since New York’s statewide elections are non-competitive and the Democratic primary is essentially the general election, that means that Cuomo could still become the candidate next summer and go on to win the general election.

As I already mentioned, none of this is set in stone. It’s only one poll and we’ll want to keep following the trends as the year progresses. Too many more bad headlines and Cuomo may yet sink beneath the political waves. But if he can keep any future damage to a minimum and survive the ongoing Attorney General’s investigation, these scandals may begin to fade in people’s memories. One thing is for sure, however. You can never count anyone from the Cuomo clan out entirely until they’re either behind bars or six feet under. And even then, you’d probably be wise to keep some garlic and a wooden stake at hand.