NEW YORK—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo still has a commanding lead over his opponents in the fall elections, despite the allegations of his interference with the Moreland Commission, which remain unknown to most voters, a new poll finds.
A Siena College poll released Monday finds that 67 percent of voters are unfamiliar with the Moreland Commission. Of the 32 percent familiar with the matter, just under half still favor Cuomo over Astorino.
Cuomo still has a favorable rating from 57 percent of voters, whereas his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, has a favorable rating of less than half of that, at 24 percent.
The poll did not survey voters about Cuomo’s challenger in the Democratic Primary, Zephyr Teachout, who had a favorable rating of 8 percent in a Marist College poll from the end of July.
“Albany insiders and political junkies are certainly talking lots about Moreland, Bharara, investigations, and the like, but most New York voters are spending their summer not following any of that news,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
The statewide poll conducted August 4–7 found that 28 percent of voters have heard little about U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation of the administration’s involvement in the Moreland Commission, and 36 percent know nothing about it at all.
Only 13 percent said that the Cuomo administration’s involvement in the Moreland Commission was potentially criminal in nature, and 53 percent said the controversy would have no effect on their vote.
Cuomo’s Thorn From the Left
These signs of an easy reelection for Cuomo haven’t stopped his campaign from aggressively pursuing his political rivals.
After Zephyr Teachout collected 45,000 signatures to be on the ballot in the Democratic Primary, her signatures were unsuccessfully contested by the Cuomo campaign.
On Monday, the Cuomo campaign failed to knock Teachout off the ballot again, after a Brooklyn judge ruled that she was a resident of the state.
“An individual can have more than one bona fide residence,” said Justice Edgar J. Walker, ruling that Teachout’s physical presence and intent to stay permanently in New York since June of 2009 made her pass the 5-year in-state residency requirement for gubernatorial candidates.
Martin Connor, the attorney representing Cuomo’s campaign, said he plans to appeal the decision, according to Teachout’s campaign.
“There wasn’t supposed to be a primary in Andrew Cuomo’s New York. Game on,” Teachout said in a statement following the ruling.
With less than one month before the primary, the lawsuit forced Teachout to spend time in court that she could’ve used to campaign.
Ms. Teachout was first noticed as a political threat to Cuomo after she was backed by a group of delegates at the left-leaning Working Families Party (WFP) convention and almost took the WFP’s nomination away from Cuomo.
Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, has never held public office. Her previous experiences in politics include working as the online director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and the director of the Sunlight Foundation, an anti-corruption non-profit.