The last time I saw a poll this depressing was last July. Which also had to do with Andrew Cuomo, not coincidentally.
His approval rating has fallen a long way since. Quinnipiac doesn’t have him as low as 38 percent, as Emerson did a few days ago, but they do have him slightly underwater at 45/46. That’s not enough to force him to quit, but it may be enough to convince him not to run for reelection after all.
Emphasis on “may.” He might be in a Trump-like situation in which he remains popular enough within his own party to defeat any likely primary challenger and will be deemed the lesser of two evils among enough general-election voters in deep-blue New York to defeat any Republican. The calendar’s probably working in his favor too. I’m guessing that politicians across the board who are tied somehow to managing the pandemic will experience an approval bounce next year, after COVID is (almost) completely vanquished and the country experiences a burst of “back to normal” good vibes. Cuomo will be able to point to the number of vaccinations in New York as the only number that matters in the end, much more so than the state’s horrific death toll.
It’s hard to get rid of an unpopular politician in America 2021. Even Trump, with a pandemic and massive economic slide stacked against him, nearly pulled it out. Can’t write Cuomo off yet. But we can certainly celebrate that New Yorkers have gotten more clear-eyed about him after his nursing-home and sexual harassment scandals.
Let’s go through the big numbers quickly, starting with his job approval in New York. Who’s saving his bacon? Nonwhite voters and, ironically, women, which were also a strong pro-Cuomo faction in the Emerson poll Ed blogged.
Why are women pro-Cuomo when men have turned against him? It’s simple, I think: Most women are Democrats and they’re sticking with their party on Cuomo for now. Men tend to be Republicans and thus have no use for him. What appears to be a “gender effect” here is actually just a partisan effect in disguise. If so, it would also explain why more men than women say that the sexual harassment allegations against him are “very serious”:
The most alarming number for Cuomo in the poll is this one. If you’re looking to disagree with me on whether he stands a chance at reelection or not, here’s your best evidence:
Even women are sour on him, and Democrats are nonwhites are tepid. I wouldn’t like his chances against a strong primary challenger today. But I bet I’ll like them better a year from now, assuming the drumbeat of accusers ends soon-ish.
Here’s the result that makes me want to drink Drano. A 56/41 approval rating on the pandemic for the guy who dallied for weeks before shutting down New York last March, doomed thousands of nursing-home residents to infection and death with his policy of returning sick people to their facilities, and then tried to cover up the extent of the damage while writing self-serving books about his leadership? We deserve the garbage that populates our governing class.
At least some progress has been made. Last May he was at 81/17 approval on COVID. And it *may* be that he’s benefiting from recency bias here, with New Yorkers grading him based on how well the vaccination process has gone the last few months rather than his total record on the pandemic. Worth noting: When asked specifically about the nursing-home cover-up, a total of 75 percent say he either did something illegal (24 percent) or unethical (51 percent).
One more. Again, women and nonwhites ride to Cuomo’s rescue on a gut check about whether he’s fit to hold office or not:
That jibes with the numbers when New Yorkers were asked whether Cuomo should resign. Just 40 percent said yes versus 55 percent who said no. Maybe that’s a reflection of people giving him the benefit of the doubt while the attorney general’s investigation of the harassment claims plays out. What he’s been accused of isn’t so bad in the eyes of New Yorkers, it seems, that he should fall on his sword immediately, without confirmation from some legal authority. Conceivably that will change after the results of the probe are published. (Asked if they’re satisfied with Cuomo’s explanation and apology so far, the poll’s sample split 27/59. Yikes.) Or maybe New Yorkers are simply content to let him play out the string on his term. It could be that they think changing horses mid-stream while the vaccination process unfolds and new variants are circulating is a bad idea. Let Cuomo finish, then replace him next year.
Except, as I say, I don’t think they will end up replacing him. Americans don’t really do accountability anymore.
Here’s one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett, finally before the cameras. By the way, Bill de Blasio’s favorable rating in this same poll is … 22/62. Cuomo, who’s mired in two separate scandals, has a rating literally twice as high. Politicians don’t get much less popular than BdB these days.
Charlotte Bennett told us she felt “shame” after Gov. Cuomo asked her sexually explicit questions.
“I feel like people put the onus on the woman to shut that conversation down. And by answering, I was somehow engaging in that…when in fact, I was just terrified,” Bennett said. pic.twitter.com/LEtgUYwMB3
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) March 4, 2021