A majority of New York voters ripped Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reporting of nursing home residents killed by the coronavirus, a new survey released Tuesday reveals.
The Siena College poll asked respondents whether Cuomo is “making public all data about COVID-related deaths of nursing home patients.”
Fifty five percent of registered voters rated Cuomo negatively — fair or poor — on the disclosure of nursing home fatality data.
Only 39 percent of respondents gave him a positive grade of good or excellent.
About two-thirds of suburbanites and six in 10 upstate residents gave Cuomo poor grades on nursing home reporting. New York City voters were split.
As for political affiliation, 84 percent of Republicans and two-thirds of independents/unaffiliated voters disapproved the governor’s handling of the nursing home death toll. Only fellow Democrats gave him a positive grade, with 54 percent supporting him on the reporting issue.
Cuomo has come under withering criticism for withholding for months the full count of nursing home resident deaths from COVID-19.
The survey was taken after state Attorney General Letitia James issued a damning report last month concluding that the Cuomo administration low-balled COVID-19 nursing home deaths by 50 percent.
It also came after a state judge issued a Feb. 3 ruling slamming Cuomo for illegally blocking the release of information in response to a legal request submitted by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a government watchdog group. Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor ordered team Cuomo to turn over the death data.
Only after the court ruling and the AG’s report did team Cuomo starting disclosing the more extensive count, which includes nursing home residents who died in hospitals as well as in nursing facilities. As of Saturday, official figures show, 13,407 nursing home residents died of COVID-19, including 4,181 — more than 31 percent — in hospitals.
Last week, The Post reported that top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa apologized to state lawmakers for withholding the extent of the state’s COVID-19 death toll, telling them during a private meeting that “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by former President Trump and federal prosecutors. The Post obtained an audio recording of her remarks during the meeting.
The nursing home controversy has been Cuomo’s political achilles heel in terms of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to DeRosa’s comments, Cuomo on Monday blamed the delay in releasing nursing home data on the need to cooperate with a federal inquiry — an excuse slammed as a lie by fellow Democratic lawmakers.
“When it comes to making public the data about the deaths of nursing home patients – the issue on which voters most harshly grade Cuomo – he only gets approval from 54 percent of Democrats, while 81 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents give him negative grades,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenber.
“New York City voters are closely divided but downstate suburbanites and upstaters give Cuomo negative grades.”
Overall, 61 percent of voters approved of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, while 34 percent disapproved.
Two-thirds of respondents approved of his communicating with the people during the pandemic, while 61 percent rated him positively for giving out accurate information.
But voters were split on his management of the vaccine rollout, with 48 percent rating him good or excellent compared to 49 percent who gave him fair or poor grades.
They were also split on his reopening plans — with 48 percent giving him a thumbs up and 50 percent a thumbs down.
A majority of voters oppose a bid by legislators to strip Cuomo of his broad emergency executive powers. The Legislature passed a law giving the governor emergency authority last year to help New York respond to the pandemic, which expires April 30.
Meanwhile 46 percent of voters say they are prepared to re-elect Cuomo if he runs for re-election to a fourth term in 2022 while 45 percent say they would “prefer someone else.”
The survey of 804 voters was taken from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 and has a 4.3 percentage point margin of error.