Despite the swirling speculation about Gov. Andrew Cuomo possibly mounting a 2020 challenge to President Donald Trump, a new Quinnipiac University poll released today found that more than half of New Yorkers believe their governor would make a poor leader of the free world and don’t want him to even try.
Cuomo scored high marks in his current role, with just over half of the 1,446 Empire State residents polled approving of his performance in office, and fewer than a third disapproving. But the same number—52 percent—told pollsters that Cuomo would not be a good president, and 53 percent said he shouldn’t make a run for it.
This despite more than two-thirds of those surveyed giving Trump the thumbs down, and 57 percent calling upon Cuomo to become a “national leader” of the Democratic opposition to the pressident.
“Use the bully pulpit against President Donald Trump, governor, but stay out of Washington—that’s the mixed message that New Yorkers have for Gov. Andrew Cuomo,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Carroll and his colleagues’ most recent findings on home state support for a Cuomo presidential bid were only marginally better than those from last December, when 56 percent of New Yorkers opposed his candidacy and 54 percent thought he was wrong for the job. His approval rating also improved three points between the two polls.
Cuomo has said repeatedly he hopes only to secure a third term in 2018, and has often avoided attacking Trump—a longtime donor and associate of his—in public appearances since the election. He has, however, continued the leftward tilt that began after his anemic performance in 2014 primary against two underfunded rivals: proposing increasingly expansive and expensive infrastructure plans, calling for free tuition at public colleges and pushing for the extension of the state’s “millionaire’s tax,” which he once opposed.
He also has committed his state police to quashing the post-election spike in hate crimes, and journeyed to Israel earlier this month in a gesture of “solidarity” with Jewish-Americans amid a rash of anti-Semitic incidents. However, he refused to meet with Arab leaders on the one-day junket, which could rankle some liberals in his party.
The poll also had bad news for his two biggest rivals in New York State: Mayor Bill de Blasio and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Almost a third of all voters—and 45 percent of Democrats—said the governor “more closely represents” their views than the liberal mayor, compared to just 16 percent of the general public and 24 percent of Dems preferring de Blasio.
The figures improved only marginally for the mayor when the question was confined to residents of the five boroughs.
Meanwhile, 52 percent of those polled approved of Bharara’s corruption-busting seven-year tenure in the Southern District of New York, which ended when Trump unceremoniously sacked him just weeks ago. But only 10 percent thought he should challenge Cuomo for governor, 21 percent thought he should seek to unseat state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and just six percent thought he should aspire to the U.S. Senate.