Oh my, how the mighty have fallen… at least in the popularity polls anyway. A recent survey from Data for Progress was released this week asking New York voters a very specific question. Should Governor Andrew Cuomo be charged with a crime as the result of investigations into sexual assault or harassment accusations leveled against him or his other various scandals? In a rather stunning reversal of his usual bulletproof reputation with Empire State voters, a solid majority of respondents answered in the affirmative. The one sticking point is that the poll was put in the field prior to Cuomo announcing that he would be resigning. Of course, I’m not sure if the resignation announcement would shift the numbers significantly anyway. There were plenty of other numbers in the survey that the soon-to-be ex-governor won’t care for either.
Today, Data for Progress released a new poll of voters in New York showing a majority of voters support charging former Governor Andrew Cuomo with a crime following allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women whilst in office. This survey was fielded between Aug. 6 and Aug. 11, before Cuomo announced he would be stepping down.
Voters support Cuomo being charged with a crime by a 23-point margin, with 52% of voters in favor of Cuomo being criminally charged while 29% opposed criminal charges and 19% said they did not know. 78% of New York voters also say the AG’s report detailing Gov Cuomo’s sexual harassment is “somewhat” or “very” credible, and 63% of voters support legislators voting to impeach Cuomo.
Also fielded was a hypothetical 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary amongst a field of candidates
It’s still not an overwhelming majority, showing just how addicted New Yorkers are to sticking with the traditional Democratic machine, but it’s still a major shift. 52% not only want him out of office but in front of a judge and jury as well. Not even a third were opposed to the idea of Cuomo being prosecuted.
The hypothetical Democratic Primary results were interesting as well. Many are undecided, but the person getting the highest level of support (26%) was District Attorney Letitia James, the same person who released the report that did Cuomo in. And interesting coincidence, eh?
Speaking of the Attorney General, the survey also asked how credible people found her report suggesting that Cuomo had sexually assaulted or harassed a number of women. 78% said that they found the report either very or somewhat credible. Remembering that this survey was taken before the resignation announcement, 63% said that the legislature should vote to impeach the governor, including a majority of Democrats.
These results are more amazing if we’re not looking at them in a vacuum. The fact is that Andrew Cuomo really has been the Teflon Don in New York for ages. His entire time in office has been plagued with scandals ranging from the Buffalo Billion to allegations of campaign finance malfeasance. Multiple people in his orbit have gone to jail. And through it all, Cuomo’s approval ratings still stayed rock solid, frequently soaring into the sixties. And even throughout all of the endless headlines of sexual misconduct and the nursing home fiasco and coverup, voters still weren’t convinced. As recently as March 15 of this year, after at least seven women had come forward and the nursing home stories were dominating the news in the capital, 67% of voters said they were “satisfied” with the answers he gave on the sexual assault allegations and 50% didn’t think he should resign. A month later, in the middle of April, long after the writing should have been on the wall, a slim majority still didn’t want him to leave office.
But now that he’s on his way out the door, his list of allies has grown transparently thin. Even if the legislature continues to refuse to move forward with impeachment hearings, if there is any justice in the world, Cuomo’s political career should be finished.