Poll: 40% of New Yorkers support recalling Gov. Cuomo

At the beginning of the pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) became a household name and media darling for his response to the novel coronavirus, even being floated at one point as a potential vice presidential nominee for then-candidate Joe Biden.

Since last spring and summer, Cuomo has become increasingly unpopular among New Yorkers for a variety of reasons—especially revelations about nursing home deaths—with a new poll finding that 40% of state residents would support recalling the three-term governor.

The Zogby survey asked 810 likely voters if they supported the process that lets residents gather signatures for a recall election before an elected official has finished their term, a process which is not allowed in New York but allowed in some other states.

In California, where recalling governors is allowed and has occurred before, a recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has been picking up steam.

While 40% of respondents said they would support a recall election to remove Cuomo before the 2022 gubernatorial election, 42% opposed such a move. The remaining respondents were undecided.

Moreover, while 47% of respondents said the Empire State needs a new governor, only 41% said that Cuomo deserves another term in Albany.

The Zogby survey also asked likely voters about the 2022 governor’s race, with Cuomo having said he wants to run for a fourth term.

In a hypothetical Democratic primary battle between Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is considered a rising star, the survey found that the governor would devastate James 65% to 22%. When matched up with Bronx and Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cuomo beat the self-described democratic socialist 67% to 24%.

As for the 2022 general election, Zogby reported that Cuomo currently leads Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik 49% to 37% in a hypothetical election.

Regarding the governor’s handling of COVID-19, 56% of New York voters supported his overall response to the pandemic, the survey reported. However, nearly half of respondents said that Cuomo was to blame for the thousands of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes in the state.

“In your opinion is Governor Andrew Cuomo responsible for the thousands of deaths in New York state that needlessly occurred as a result of his decision last March to require nursing homes to accept patients released from hospitals, despite them being COVID-positive and despite testing deficiencies for both residents and staff?” respondents were asked.

48% said the deaths were Cuomo’s fault, overshadowing the 32% who said he wasn’t to blame.

On January 28, James released a report showing that the nursing home deaths “may have been undercounted by as much as 50%,” with the state department of health at the time of the report’s release saying that COVID-19 was responsible for about 8,500 nursing home deaths.

Cuomo has deflected the blame, arguing that former President Donald Trump turned the pandemic into a “political football.”

RELATED: 9 of Gov. Cuomo’s top health officials have left: report

The Zogby survey was conducted between February 2 and 5, and reported a 3.4% margin of error.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.