After all, many more registered Republicans believe the allegations against Mr. Cuomo than registered Democrats, a powerful reminder of the role of partisanship in shaping public opinion. Liberals, who generally argue that women should be believed when they allege sexual harassment, are the likeliest ideological group to say they do not believe Mr. Cuomo has committed sexual harassment. A majority of conservatives and Republicans, in contrast, believe the allegations.
Mr. Cuomo’s resilience is also a reminder that New York Democrats are fairly moderate, despite counting some of the nation’s most famous progressive politicians, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a thriving Democratic Socialist left among their ranks. In recent Democratic primaries, New Yorkers backed Hillary Clinton and Mr. Cuomo over idealistic, reformist, good-government progressive challengers.
Mr. Cuomo and other establishment-backed Democrats have often won with considerable support from nonwhite voters, especially those who are Black, in New York City, who often hold relatively moderate views on cultural and ideological issues compared with those of white progressives. And of all of the demographic groups surveyed in the Siena poll, Black voters, regardless of party registration, were the likeliest to have a favorable view of Mr. Cuomo or say he has not committed sexual harassment.
Mr. Cuomo’s path to winning the general election is straightforward: capitalize on New York’s Democratic lean. The Siena College poll found that registered voters in the state said they preferred a Democrat for governor over a Republican by a 20 percentage point margin, presumably making it quite difficult for any Republican to win the general election.
Difficult does not mean impossible. It is not wholly uncommon for Democratic states to elect Republican governors, or vice versa. The three states where President Biden’s performed the strongest — Vermont, Massachusetts and Maryland — all have Republican governors, albeit moderate ones; the Democratic governors of Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana offer examples on the other side of the political spectrum.
Mr. Cuomo’s ratings are weak enough statewide that he could be vulnerable against a strong and moderate Republican challenger, who would probably need to accede to the state’s prevailing cultural views, perhaps even on abortion and Donald Trump’s presidency. Most of the Republican contenders so far do not fit into that category. Many have strong ties to national Republican politics, including several House Republicans and even Andrew Giuliani.
There’s still time for a stronger challenger to emerge, but for now it is not easy to identify someone comparable to the three anti-Trump Republicans who currently govern blue states.