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

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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.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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