NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — A majority of New York voters polled in the latest survey from Emerson College and NewsNation say Gov. Andrew Cuomo should not be elected for a fourth term in 2022.
With a job approval rating of 38%, the Democratic governor is under fire after three women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment involving Cuomo. Even among Democrats, those polled are split on reelection, with 52% saying he should serve another term and 48% saying it is time for someone new.
The state Assembly and Senate leaders, both controlled by Democrats, announced Tuesday the Legislature will pass legislation to limit emergency powers related to the pandemic that they granted Cuomo last spring.
Cuomo’s existing COVID-19 mandates would remain in place. Still, he wouldn’t be able to extend or tweak them without responding to questions from lawmakers under a bill outlined by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Among those polled, 90% of respondents were aware of the sexual harassment allegations, and 92% were aware of the nursing home death data issue.
Calls for the governor to resign intensified late Monday after a third woman accused Cuomo of offensive behavior, saying he’d touched her face and back and asked to kiss her moments after they met at a wedding reception. Neither Cuomo nor his spokespeople have commented on the latest allegation made against him Monday night. New York Attorney General Letitia James is set to investigate claims that Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women in his administration; James said her office is working to hire an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry.
As of midday Tuesday, at least one Democratic Congress member from Long Island — U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice — four state senators, several left-leaning Assembly members and the leaders of the progressive Working Families Party said they have already heard enough and that Cuomo should resign. Some suggested he be impeached.
Thirty-seven percent of polled voters think the allegations of sexual harassment are grounds for resignation, while 34% think she should not resign. 29% are unsure whether he should resign at this time. When asked about resigning due to his handling over the nursing home death data, 45% feel Cuomo should resign, 36% said they do not think he should, and 18% were unsure or had no opinion.
New Yorkers in different regions had varying opinions regarding resignations over either of the recent controversies. Long Island voters felt most strongly that Cuomo should resign, with 54% in favor of resignation over the sexual harassment claims and 58% in favor of his resignation of the handling of nursing home deaths.
In a statement Sunday, Cuomo maintained he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone. But he said he had teased people about their personal lives in an attempt to be “playful.” He said he had wanted to act like a mentor to Bennett.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said.
His statement drew immediate backlash from critics who said he was throwing responsibility onto the women for perceiving his statements wrongly.
The New York Emerson College/WPIX-TV/NewsNation poll was conducted March 1-2, 2021. The sample consisted of New York registered voters, n=700, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, party affiliation and region. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, SMS-to-web, and an online panel provided by Prime Panels
The Associated Press contributed to this report.