(The Hill) – Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) could wind up as a spoiler candidate if he were to mount an independent bid for his old office, according to a new poll from The Hill and Emerson College.
The poll found that with Cuomo on the ballot as an independent, 33 percent of voters would back the Democratic candidate, 33 percent would support the Republican candidate and another 16 percent would vote for Cuomo. Another 18 percent said they are undecided.
Those findings suggest that while Cuomo’s prospects for recapturing the governor’s mansion after resigning last year remain slim, his presence in the race could significantly complicate things for Democrats in an otherwise reliable state for the party.
Cuomo’s successor, Gov. Kathy Hochul, is seeking her first full term in office after stepping into the job in the wake of Cuomo’s resignation last year. She’s facing primary challenges from New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.).
Cuomo hasn’t said publicly whether he plans on entering the New York governor’s race this year, though he has used campaign funds to finance an advertising blitz seeking to restore his reputation following the sexual harassment scandal that prompted him to resign.
In the Democratic primary, however, Hochul remains the current favorite for her party’s gubernatorial nomination, capturing 45 percent support among primary voters, according to The Hill-Emerson College poll. Another 12 percent said they plan to vote for Suozzi, while 22 percent are undecided.
While Hochul may hold the lead in the Democratic field, her approval rating is still underwater. Forty-five percent of New York primary voters said they disapprove of her job performance, while only 36 percent approve.
Even among Democrats, Hochul’s approval is lackluster. Forty-seven percent of her own party’s voters said they approve of the job she’s doing in office, the poll found.
On the Republican side, 26 percent of GOP voters said they support Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) for the nomination. Eighteen percent are backing Andrew Giuliani, a former White House staffer and the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while another 16 percent plan to vote for Rob Astorino, a former Westchester County executive.
The Hill-Emerson College poll surveyed 1,000 registered New York voters from May 1-3. Findings for the Democratic primary were based on responses from 444 likely Democratic primary voters, while findings for the Republican primary were based on responses from 182 likely GOP primary voters.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the entire sample, plus or minus 4.6 points for Democratic primary voters and plus or minus 7 points for Republican primary voters.