A trifecta of polling over the past week paints a picture of a third-term governor who had enjoyed a stratospheric rise in popularity over the summer, and currently facing strong political headwinds.
Polls from Siena College, Morning Consult and Marist College all show a downward trend in voter approval for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but none indicate that Democrats in New York, who have a 2 to 1 enrollment advantage over Republicans, are ready to turn their backs on Cuomo.
The governor is facing two federal investigations as well as calls to rescind his emergency pandemic powers after it was revealed that his administration had purposely withheld nursing home death data from lawmakers. Additionally, Cuomo’s temperament is being scrutinized following press reports detailing an angry phone call to Assemblyman Ron Kim, resurrecting the image of the governor as a bully.
Dr. Lee Miringhoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told Capital Tonight that the governor’s approval numbers are trending downward because of the nursing home scandal.
"He’s in the later phase of his third term, so he’s picked up some bumps and bruises along the way," according to Miringhoff. "It could make running in a primary against him attractive. Right now, the Democrats are lower, but the majority of New Yorkers still approve the job of he’s doing."
The Marist Poll, which was just released Tuesday, shows Cuomo with a 54% approval rating from voters on his overall handling of the pandemic, which would be enviable for the governors of some other states.
Another question Marist posed to respondents was this:
“Based on what you´ve read or heard about the controversy over Governor Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, do you think Governor Cuomo has done something illegal; has done something unethical, but not illegal; has done nothing wrong."
A total of 19% of respondents said that the governor had done something illegal, 41% said the governor had done something unethical, and 27% told Marist he had done nothing wrong.
When comparing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval numbers to his father’s during the same period in his third term, the younger Cuomo is running 2 percentage points better than his father was in 1993. Mario Cuomo was seeking a fourth term when he lost to a little known Republican lawmaker named George Pataki. Andrew Cuomo currently has a 42% approval rating compared to Mario Cuomo’s 40%.
The other recently-released polls generally reflected the Marist Poll’s results, in that the governor has lost some ground. But Cuomo fared somewhat better in both the Morning Consult and Siena College polls.
On Monday of this week, Morning Consult released a poll showing the Governor with a 57% approval rating, down 6 percentage points. But "the Democratic governor is still more popular than he was before the pandemic," Morning Consult wrote.
According to the Siena poll released last week, voters gave Gov. Cuomo a slightly less lofty approval rating than he has had for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, 61% - 34%, down slightly from 63% - 32% last month. His overall favorability rating was 56 percent according to Siena.
The Marist College poll of 953 adults, which included a subset of 813 registered voters, was conducted last week between February 15 and 17. To read the poll, visit maristpoll.marist.edu.