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Hochul leads Cuomo by 8 points in hypothetical match-up: poll

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) holds an 8-point lead over her predecessor, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), in a theoretical Democratic primary matchup, according to a Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday.

Thirty-eight percent of registered Democratic voters said they would support Hochul, while 30 percent would back Cuomo, 10 percent would support Rep. Tom Suozzi and 7 percent would vote for New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Cuomo has hinted that he’s considering running for his old job after he resigned in disgrace last year over sexual misconduct allegations, though he has yet to formally launch a bid.

Of the candidates who are officially running, Hochul has a sprawling lead. In a field without Cuomo, Hochul earns the support of 52 percent of Democrats, compared to 12 percent for Williams and 11 percent for Suozzi.

A poll from The Hill and Emerson College released earlier this month found Hochul with just a 4-point lead in a hypothetical primary matchup with Cuomo. 

That poll and others suggest that Cuomo retains a sizable base of support from his decade as governor, which would make him a force in a primary.

However, the new survey indicates that he could struggle to push his ceiling above 30 percent in a Democratic primary. Only a third of Democrats said they wanted to see him run again, and only 32 percent said they think he did not sexually harass and assault the multiple women who came forward with allegations against him. 

On top of that, he’d be going up against a governor with a favorability rating of 67 percent among Democrats, though Hochul is only viewed favorably by 45 percent of all New York voters. Cuomo’s favorability rating is just 50 percent among Democrats and 32 percent among all voters. 

Hochul also boasts a hefty bank account, announcing in January that she had $21 million in her war chest, a figure that likely climbed since then and could help fend off a Cuomo campaign. The former governor still has $16 million in his campaign account.

“Hochul has 50-point net positive favorability rating among Democrats, compared to Cuomo’s eight-point net positive rating. More than half of Democrats don’t want Cuomo to run for governor this year and only one-third say he should run in the primary,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Despite all that, Cuomo would be very much in the game — if he decides to put himself in the game.” 

Still, Cuomo’s camp touted the poll as evidence of a resurgence in popularity, backed by a multimillion-dollar ad blitz and renewed public speaking engagements.

“Governor Cuomo’s support effectively doubled in a few months – demonstrating that when New Yorkers have the facts, they realize the politicalization and the corruption of the process that was used to force from office a governor with a real record of results that improved people’s lives. This was after only two recent speeches where he gave his thoughts on the problems facing this state, nation, and the Democratic Party as a whole,” said Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi.

Cuomo resigned last year after several women went public with allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. The former governor admitted he did some of the acts he was accused of, but said he did not intend to make the women feel uncomfortable. He also called some of the other allegations false and has accused state Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose report found the allegations credible, of initiating a “witch hunt.”

The Siena College poll surveyed 804 registered voters from March 20-24 and had a margin of error of 4.2 percent. Included in that was a subset of 369 registered Democrats.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Jumaane Williams Kathy Hochul New York gubernatorial election Tom Suozzi

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