New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting to stay in office. He’s resisting calls from several Democrats to resign after multiple women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment.
While Cuomo may eventually be impeached and removed from office, he’s unlikely to step down if his poll numbers continue to look anything like they do now.
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.
Now, it’s not as if Cuomo is popular. His approval rating in the Quinnipiac poll was just 39%. His favorable rating was lower at 33%. A Siena College poll released a little over a week ago pegged his favorable rating at a middling 43%.
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.
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.
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.