The numbers don't lie
March 4, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is under close scrutiny following multiple sexual harassment allegations and revelations of withheld COVID-19 data, but most voters haven't fully turned against him.

In a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, voters gave Cuomo a split 45-46 percent approval rating, down almost 30 points since his nearly-peak approval at the height of the pandemic in New York last year. Even though his overall approval has plummeted, voters don't necessarily think he should resign.

Cuomo has faced some calls to step down after three women accused him of sexual harassment, including two former aides. The governor apologized on Wednesday, but said he "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he would not resign. Quinnipiac found that 40 percent of New York voters believe he should resign, while 55 percent say he should not. Perhaps surprisingly, just 21 percent of Democrats say Cuomo should step down, and 74 percent say he should stay.

Even so, while voters aren't united in saying Cuomo should leave office immediately, there's more consensus that he shouldn't run again. A full 59 percent said he should not run for re-election in 2022, and 36 percent said he should. Democrats were more split on the question, with 50 percent saying he should run again, and 44 percent disagreeing.

There's more bad news for Cuomo on the coronavirus front, seeing as 56 percent of those polled approve of his handling of the pandemic, down from 81 percent who approved last May. That could be related to Cuomo's office reportedly acknowledging they withheld data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes across the state, undercounting by as much as 50 percent. While 75 percent say his handling of the issue was wrong, 51 percent say he did something "unethical, but not illegal."

Quinnipiac surveyed 935 registered voters in New York from March 2-3. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points. See more results here. Summer Meza

January 17, 2017

Republicans' timing couldn't be worse when it comes to repealing ObamaCare, at least according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday. The survey found that right now, just as Republicans have passed the first hurdle toward repeal, Obama's signature health care plan is more popular than ever among Americans.

Forty-five percent of Americans now say the Affordable Care Act is "a good idea," which NBC News noted is "the highest percentage here since the NBC/WSJ poll began asking the question in April 2009." Conversely, 41 percent of Americans say the health care law is "a bad idea."

Even though that's still a large swath of Americans doubting the merits of the ACA, Americans aren't particularly optimistic that Republicans will be able to solve the problem either. Just 26 percent of Americans said they have a "great deal" or "quite a bit of confidence" in congressional Republicans finding a suitable replacement. Fifty percent said they had "very little" or no confidence that the GOP would come up with a viable replacement plan.

The poll was taken from Jan. 12-15 among 1,000 adults. Its overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Becca Stanek

August 29, 2016

Hey, remember that time Donald Trump got in a high-profile fight with Pope Francis? Well, it appears that American Catholics might, and while that may not be the root cause of Trump's "massive Catholic problem," as diagnosed by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, calling a popular pope a stooge for the Mexican government isn't a great first impression to make on a key swing bloc of voters. Blake calls Trump's weakness among Catholics "one of the really undersold story lines of the 2016 election," and has a chart showing how much better Hillary Clinton is faring among Catholics against Trump than President Obama performed in 2012, when, according to exit polls, he beat Republican Mitt Romney by 2 percentage points among Catholics.

That 21-point swing toward Clinton would be huge, though New York Times poll-cruncher Nate Cohn has some serious problems with mixing opinion polls and exit polls. Even if you look at just the opinion polls, however, Trump appears to have a big problem — Blake cites a new Public Religion Research Institute poll showing Clinton crushing Trump among Catholics, 55 percent to 32 percent, and a Washington Post/ABC News poll from earlier this month has Clinton ahead among Catholics, 61 percent to 34 percent. A Pew poll from July had Clinton beating Trump among Catholics 56 percent to 39 percent (with a 77/16 split among Hispanic Catholic voters and 46/50 split among white Catholic voters).

This is such a problem for Trump, Blake says, because Catholics make up about 25 percent of the electorate, versus, for example, 28 percent of non-whites, 29 percent of independents, and 10 percent for Latinos. Trump's Latino deficit is worth about 1 point in the general election, but "when talking about Catholics," he explains, "Trump is basically adding 5 to 7 percentage points to Clinton's overall margin. If 25 percent of the electorate is Catholic, Clinton is currently taking 14 to 15 points worth of that chunk, while Trump is taking 8 or 8.5 points. And this is a group, again, that is usually close to tied."

Why Trump is doing so poorly among Catholics is a matter of conjecture — and John Gehring at Religion News Service has some informed speculation — but since the U.S. elects presidents by state electors rather than popular vote, Trump should maybe be most worried about the large Catholic populations in Ohio and Florida. In Florida, though, Trump has one bright ray of hope, according to The Wall Street Journal: A "new influx of white retirees" is helping to offset the state's growing Latino population. Peter Weber

November 19, 2015

For decades, Americans of Hispanic, Arab, and North African descent have had little choice other than "white" on the racial and ethnic parts of the U.S. Census questionnaire. That would change under modifications being considered by the Census Bureau, director John Thompson tells The Associated Press. If the changes are adopted, the 2020 Census would allow Latinos to provide more information about their ethnic background and create new race/ethnicity categories for people of Middle Eastern and North African heritage. Those changes would speed up the year when "white" Americans fall below 50 percent of the U.S. population.

"I don't think these new questions would diminish anything," Thompson told AP, adding that no decision have been made yet. "It would just give us more information about our diverse populations." Demographers aren't sure when whites will become a minority in the U.S., but using the current questionnaire, the Census Bureau estimates it could happen in 2043 or 2044.

Samer Khalef, for one, welcomes the change as a way to empower the Arab-American community and better reflect the truth. "If you are going to classify me as white, then treat (me) as white," said Khalef, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "Especially when I go to the airport. So yeah, it's inaccurate." But echoing demographers, Khalef said a lot depends on how people choose to identify themselves on the proposed new forms — and Arab-Americans may not rush to embrace the changes. "They think it will put them under surveillance," he told AP. "They won't fill (the census) out because they don't want to be on any list." Peter Weber

August 25, 2015

Since 1966, the U.S. has had more mass shootings than the next several countries combined, according to a new study by University of Alabama criminologist Adam Lankford. Between 1966 and 2012, there were 291 documented mass shootings in the world, and 31 percent of those were in the U.S., Lankford says in a paper being presented this week at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Chicago. That's five times the rate in the second-ranked country, the Philippines.

A big reason for this unwanted top ranking is America's unusually high rate of gun ownership, the Los Angeles Times reports: 88.8 firearms per 100 people, according to a 2007 survey. Yemen, the No. 3 country for mass killings, comes in a distant second, with 54.8 firearms per 100 people. The No. 3 and No. 4 countries in per-capita gun ownership, Finland and Switzerland, are also in the Top 15 for mass shootings, Lankford found. "Because of its world-leading firearm ownership rate, America does stand apart," he wrote, "and this appears connected to its high percentage of mass shootings."

But it isn't the only reason. The poor U.S. system to care for mental illness plays a role, Lankford noted, though that's a trait not unique to the U.S. One thing that is unique is the "American dream," he said, and when people fail to achieve that upward mobility, some of them express their frustration in violence. The last big element? Fame. "Increasingly in America — perhaps more than in any other country on the globe — fame is revered as an end unto itself," he wrote. "Some mass shooters succumb to terrible delusions of grandeur and seek fame and glory through killing." You can read more about Langford's research at the Los Angeles Times. Peter Weber

June 23, 2015

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts is undeniably a conservative court. "But even conservative courts have liberal terms — and the current term is leaning left as it enters its final two weeks," say Alicia Parlapiano, Adam Liptak, and Jeremy Bowers in a New York Times analysis. There are seven cases left in the current term, but as of June 22, 54 percent of the decisions have skewed liberal.

Of course, the Roberts court has also delivered the most conservative term since the 1950s, in 2008, and has handed down conservative victories on campaign finance, gun rights, and abortion. But since 2008, rulings on the environment, health care, and gay rights have drawn the Roberts court in a liberal direction, according to the Times analysis. If the court kneecaps ObamaCare or rules against gay marriage in its final seven rulings, it probably won't be remembered as a liberal term, but "a look at some of the Supreme Court's biggest cases suggests that overall trends are only sometimes good indicators of individual results," The Times notes. For more details and context, visit The New York Times. Peter Weber

March 30, 2015

In a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 34 percent of Republicans called President Obama an imminent threat to the United States, versus 25 percent who ranked Russian President Vladimir Putin and 23 percent who viewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assed as that dangerous. The online survey, conducted March 16-24, asked the 1,083 Democrats and 1,059 Republicans to assign a number to countries, groups, and individuals, with 1 being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat.

Obama wasn't the only domestic threat: 27 percent of Republicans gave 5 scores to Democrats, and 22 percent of Democrats similarly ranked the GOP as an imminent threat. "There tends to be a lot of demonizing of the person who is in the office," sociologist Barry Glassner tells Reuters. "The TV media here, and American politics, very much trade on fears."

There were some bipartisan fears, too: 58 percent of all respondents ranked Islamic State an imminent threat and 43 percent said the same of al Qaeda; Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was viewed as a top threat by only 27 percent of respondents. Find more results at Reuters. Peter Weber

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