The idea that Cuomo shouldn’t be governor is a much more popular idea among politicians than it is among voters.
Most New Yorkers don’t want Cuomo to step down. Even in a Quinnipiac University poll
out this week, which was among Cuomo’s worst, more New Yorkers want him to stay in office (49%) than resign (43%). No other poll has had numbers that bad. Fewer voters (36%) believe he should be impeached and removed from office.
It’s possible that these numbers drop. Since the allegations began to first appear in the press — as well as reports that top aides had altered data concerning the death toll among nursing home residents amid the coronavirus pandemic — Cuomo’s ratings have fallen
by about 15 to 20 points.
But as is, these numbers aren’t really that bad, especially for a politician that some are trying to force from office.
Before Rod Blagovich was impeached and removed from being Illinois’ governor, his approval rating was in the single digits
. Richard Nixon’s approval rating was 24% before he resigned
Of course, Cuomo’s strength comes in large part from his Democratic base. Remember that if the rest of the electorate abandons him, New York is still a strongly blue state.
In his worst rating recently (Quinnipiac’s favorable rating), his net favorability (favorable – unfavorable) stood at +18 points among Democrats. His net favorability rating among Black voters was +51 points. A mere 19% of Black voters and 23% of Democrats want him out of office.
Cuomo has focused
on maintaining support among Black voters, including getting his Covid-19 vaccine at a predominantly Black church in Harlem.
In a state where Democrats have a supermajority
in both the Assembly and state Senate, these could be strong enough numbers for Cuomo.
Other governors in deeply blue or red states who resigned following a scandal tend to have much worse numbers.
For example, Robert Bentley, a former Alabama governor, had a negative net approval rating
among his state’s Republican voters following a sex scandal. His ratings within his own party were the worst of any governor in the country at the time.
Eliot Spitzer, a former New York governor, had a negative net approval rating
among his state’s Democratic voters, after a sex scandal. Most Democrats (65%) wanted him to resign
, unlike Cuomo.
Staying in New York, Cuomo’s ratings are also better
among Democrats than his Democratic predecessor David Paterson. Paterson faced scandals of his own, but resisted calls to resign
It’s hard to see how Cuomo goes, if Paterson was able to stay.
Perhaps, the biggest question at this point is whether Cuomo will run for reelection, if he isn’t forced from office.
Most voters (66% in the Quinnipiac poll), including most Democrats (52%), say they don’t want that to happen. But in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office in more than a decade, Cuomo would still have a chance given his current numbers.