ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s apology while addressing allegations of sexual harassment did little to sway voters, according to a new poll Thursday.
The new Emerson College/WPIX-TV/NewsNation poll found that the governor’s press conference, his first public appearance since the sexual harassment allegations surfaced, got mixed reactions from voters with 41% saying Cuomo meant his apology, 41% saying he did not mean it, and 18% who said they were unaware of the apology.
Of those who thought the governor meant the apology, 64% said he should remain in office, while 13% said he should resign. Of those who did not think the apology was genuine, 79% said he should resign and 10% said he should not.
However voters felt about the sentiment, it appears the press conference did increase awareness of the issue as more people reported hearing about Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations: 61% of those polled said they’ve heard a “great deal” about the issue as of Thursday, compared to only 50% earlier this week. Only 5% said they’ve heard nothing about it at this point, compared to 11% earlier this week.
“Cuomo’s apology did not go far enough as voters were less satisfied with his response after the press conference than before,” said Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College polling. “49% reported being disappointed with his response on the issue currently, which is up from 42% earlier in the week.”
In fact, the governor’s apology seems to have had a reverse effect. A majority — 54% — of those polled now think Gov. Cuomo did sexually harass his former staffers, while only 38% believed the allegations to be true before Wednesday’s briefing. There was little change in how many voters believe that he did not do as accused, moving only from 18% to 19%.
Furthermore, 43% of those polled think the governor should resign, compared to earlier in the week when 37% said he should step down. The percentage of those who wanted the governor to remain in office did not change, with 34% saying he should not resign over the allegations.
With sexual harassment headlines dominating New York news cycles this week, there appears to be a slight decrease in awareness of the nursing home deaths, with a 3% drop this week in voters who said they had heard a lot about the issue. Voters maintained a similar attitude from earlier in the week with 44% saying Cuomo should resign over the nursing home controversy, compared to 45% a few days ago. Those who believe he should not resign over nursing homes remained the same at 36% in both polls.
Voters appear increasingly concerned about how these controversies will impact Cuomo’s ability to govern, with 46% saying there would be an impact Thursday, up from 39% earlier in the week.
Another sagging indicator for the governor: Only a third — 33% — of polled voters would like to re-elect him as governor in 2022, which is down from 36% from the initial poll.
Despite the controversies, 50% of those polled still consider Cuomo to be as ethical as mot politicians. Additionally, earlier in the week, 15% considered Cuomo more ethical than other politicians and that number increased to 19% in Thursday’s poll.
Cuomo’s approval rating remains underwater, with 49% of respondents saying they disapprove of his job as governor, 38% saying they approve, and 13% saying they were unsure or didn’t have an opinion.
When it comes to priorities, a majority of New Yorkers — 62% — said a COVID-19 vaccine plan is the most important issue at the moment, while 27% said an investigation into nursing homes was most pressing, and 11% said the sexual harassment allegations.