Politicians like the rest of us are vulnerable to gravity's pull: What goes up, must come down. But Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of the pandemic has shot him to a form of national stardom and populairity in New York that shows little sign of slowing.
A new analysis released Thursday by the COVID-19 Consortium assessed the public's perception of how the nation's governors are handling the coronavirus pandemic. The results vary, but are often tied to how residents in those states consider whether a governor took decisive action, or reopened too early.
New York was an epicenter for the virus beginning in March. The death toll has led the country among states. And yet, Cuomo's handling of the pandemic became a rallying point for the country.
"This suggests that where citizens perceive their governors as having taken decisive actions to stem the spread of COVID-19, their citizens may be less likely to blame them for subsequent surges in COVID-19 cases, at least in the short term," the analysis found.
The consortium is a joint project of Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University that reviews public policy decisions during the pandemic.
The report comes as states across the country are dealing with a resurgence of the virus, beginning largely in the Sunbelt and western regions of the country.
Cuomo over the last several weeks has announced a growing list of states placed on a quarantine list, requiring travelers to isolate themselves for 14 days to halt the return of the virus to New York.
Cuomo's handling of the pandemic and his favorability rating in recent polling has shown he's gotten good marks from voters in nearly all demographics.
The daily televised briefings are now being held on a more adhoc basis, but the image of the governor in Albany, beamed into homebound New Yorkers' livingrooms each day, received national attention.
And governors, generally, are receiving more backing from the public on their handling of the crisis than President Donald Trump.
"Overall, America’s governors continue to enjoy a 19 percentage point advantage over the president in public support for their handling of the pandemic (51% vs 32%)," the analysis found.
There are still pitfalls for Cuomo as the reopening continues on a gradual pace. Unemplyoment remains in double digit percentage points in New York City. Searing budgets of up to 20 percent for education and health care are likely if billions of dollars in federal aid isn't approved.
The reopening of schools represents another high-wire act for the state as a mix of in-classroom and online learning is likely by September, but the question of how it will work remains a source of anxiety for parents and teachers.