Politics & Policy

Poll: Cuomo Driving New York Independents Away from Fellow Democrats

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in New York City, N.Y, October 17, 2019. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

New polling suggests that beleaguered New York governor Andrew Cuomo could be a drag on New York Democrats in 2022 if he remains in office.

Cuomo, whose administration is in the midst of at least three federal probes into its handling of nursing homes during COVID-19 and who is himself facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, has so far refused to leave office.

“No, there is no way I resign,” Cuomo said Monday, even after New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, called for him to leave office. On Monday, New York Republican state lawmakers said they would introduce an impeachment resolution against Cuomo.

And while New York Republicans currently hold super-minorities in both the state Senate and Assembly, Cuomo’s actions could present an opportunity to gain seats.

According to polling conducted by the Republican State Leadership, 65 percent of respondents across 14 state Senate and state Assembly districts currently represented by Democrats said that they “would be less likely to support a Democrat legislator if they learned they were standing by Governor Cuomo.”

The RSLC polled 1,400 registered independents from March 5-6. “Even if all of these state Democrats attempt to distance themselves from the governor and call for his resignation, the data makes clear that it may not be enough,” a memo reads. “Running on the same ticket as Cuomo in 2022 could be catastrophic in itself, and Republicans should look to capitalize.”

The 14 districts stretch across the state, from Suffolk County on Long Island to St.Lawrence County on the New York’s northern border. They include four state Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2022 — Peter Harckham, James Gaughran, Kevin Thomas, and John Brooks — and ten Assembly members — Judy Griffin, Monica P. Wallace, Carrie Woerner, Marianne Buttenschon, Michael Cusick, Al Stirpe, Didi Barrett, Billy Jones, Simcha Eichenstein, and Steven Cymbrowitz.

“These are districts we’re tracking for potential vulnerabilities as part of our broader political map,” RSLC communications director Andrew Romeo told National Review. A review of New York’s registration data shows that registered independents represent at least 20 percent of the electorate in all 14 districts.

Recent media reports have shown how Cuomo’s administration went to great lengths to avoid public scrutiny by deliberately undercounting nursing home deaths during the pandemic — including by rewriting a July report by state health officials to conceal that over 9,000 nursing home residents had died from COVID-19 in the state at the time.

So far, New York’s Democrat leadership remains divided on whether Cuomo should leave office — while Stewart-Cousins, backed by Senate Democrats, called for Cuomo to step down, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has merely said the governor should “seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.”

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