A new poll found 59% of New Yorkers want Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign from office, including 52% of Democrats, following the explosive investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James into sexual harassment allegations against the state’s chief executive by 11 women.
The Marist Poll released Wednesday, Aug. 4, showed that if Cuomo declines to step down, 59% of New Yorkers say the State Legislature should impeach him. Less than one-in-three (32%) surveyed said Cuomo should serve out the rest of his term.
“The court of public opinion believes the allegations against Governor Cuomo warrant his removal from office,” says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Poll. “If he does not resign, nearly six in 10 New Yorkers believe he should be impeached. Even if he survives this scandal, his reelection prospects are rock bottom with even his Democratic base deserting him.”
Cuomo denies the allegations, but 44% of those questioned believe he did something illegal, and 29% think he was unethical but did not break the law. Only 7% say Cuomo did nothing wrong, 6% say they haven’t heard enough about the allegations, and 13% were unsure, according to the poll.
James’s probe, led by two outside attorneys, found a pattern of abuse by Cuomo against the 11 women, nine of whom were either current or former state employees, including a State Trooper.
The charges range from groping staffers, kissing them on the cheek and lips without consent, other unwanted touching, and inappropriate comments.
Cuomo and his team allegedly unlawfully retaliated against his first public accuser, Lindsey Boylan, the report found, and his office fostered a toxic work culture in the Executive Chamber which enabled the governor’s misconduct.
The governor disputed the findings, denying he groped aides and saying the unwanted touching and kissing was “meant to convey warmth,” in a pre-taped video statement following the report’s release. His attorney issued a document rebutting some of the charges, which included 23 pages of him and other politicians hugging and kissing.
The third-term governor’s chances for reelection in 2021 don’t look good either, with 78% of people saying it’s time for someone else to take the state’s lead, and only 11% saying he deserves to get voted in again.
The number increases for members of Cuomo’s own party, with 18% registered Democrats thinking he deserves to be reelected.
That’s down from February, when 58% reported they thought it was time for a new governor and 36% thought he should be reelected.
That month, allegations against Cuomo became more detailed as Boylan wrote a blog post expanding on allegations she first made on Twitter in December.
The governor’s office did not immediately provide comment.