New poll has rosy numbers for Cuomo

The former governor was just about tied with Gov. Kathy Hochul when voters were asked who they would choose in 2022.

Andrew Cuomo’s comeback tour is alive and well.

Andrew Cuomo’s comeback tour is alive and well. Mike Groll/Office of former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo’s comeback tour is alive and well, and a new poll suggests that New Yorkers might also be ready to forgive and forget. Cuomo has released a new defensive ad and began making public appearances. The former governor hasn’t said one way or the other whether he might run for office again, but he seems ready to reenter public life more than half a year after his resignation. 

Emerson College and The Hill released a new poll taking a deep dive into public opinion on the disgraced ex-governor at a time when he has started raising his profile again. In a Democratic gubernatorial primary matchup that included him and the already declared candidates, the poll found Cuomo practically neck-and-neck with Gov. Kathy Hochul – 37% said they would back the current governor while 33% said they would vote for Cuomo. When asked for comment about the poll results and any intentions to run for office, Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi simply replied with a link to a tweet from the afternoon the poll came out – a video clip from a recent Cuomo speech with a popcorn emoji.

At the same time, the poll offered seemingly contradictory results, with 63% of respondents of the opinion that Cuomo should not hold public office again. Those findings align more with recent polling done by Siena College, which found that 60% of New Yorkers viewed him unfavorably in February – the same number as October 2021 – and 80% believed he made the right choice in resigning. “While voters trust the (attorney general) investigation’s findings and do not want Cuomo to re-enter office, he still holds significant support among a base of Democratic primary voters,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a statement released with the poll.

The Emerson College/The Hill poll is also the first since October 2021 to include Cuomo in a gubernatorial candidate lineup. A Marist College poll then found the former governor came in third with 19% of Democratic voters saying they would back him in a primary, behind Hochul, who had 36% support, and then-candidate Letitia James, who had 24% support. The new data suggests that Cuomo’s appeal improved as more time had passed from his scandals, although the two polls are from different organizations and aren’t directly comparable.

The new numbers also come as Cuomo slowly reemerges after months of silence. He made his first scheduled public appearance less than a week ago, speaking at a Brooklyn church where he bemoaned “cancel culture” and alluded to the prospect of making a political comeback. That came soon after he released an ad that declared he had been vindicated of the sexual harassment allegations against him – without mentioning any political aspirations – paid for with his considerable leftover campaign cash. And despite concerns from good government watchdogs, a top Board of Elections official ruled that Cuomo’s use of the funds was proper despite the fact that he is not currently running for office. 

The latest poll hardly comes as part of an upward trend for Cuomo – at least not yet – but it adds to the ongoing political intrigue over what the disgraced former governor might be planning for his future. A spokesperson for Hochul’s campaign would not comment on the poll’s findings or the prospect of Cuomo running against her.