With a political eternity of nearly five months to go before the September 13 Democrat primary, the latest polling shows Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon closing the gap with incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
While Cuomo still enjoys a commanding lead, Nixon picked up +16 points simply by announcing her candidacy. Back in March, when she was flirting with running but had not yet announced, a Siena College poll had Cuomo beating her 66 percent to 19 percent — a 47 point lead. Now, less than a month into her campaign, a poll published on April 17 shows that gap closed to 58 percent to 27 percent — a 31 point Cuomo lead.
The 60-year-old governor is running for his third term and what is believed to be a 2020 presidential bid.
New Yorkers seem ready to shake things up. This same poll shows that Cuomo’s favorability rating, while still above water by five points (49-44), is tied with his record low. Moreover, this is a drop of -27 points from January, when Cuomo enjoyed a very healthy favorability rating of 62-30 percent.
The dangers for Cuomo are very real. As Pajamas Media accurately points out, Nixon has already taken Working Families Party endorsement from Cuomo, or what is known as the “liberal seal of approval,” forced Cuomo to move even further left, and is displaying considerable poise in the spotlight.
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s problems continue to mount, including a scandal engulfing his inner-circle that the far-left New York Times describes as “a nadir in Mr. Cuomo’s governorship and only the start of a political headache that is likely to intensify.”
For years, Mr. Cuomo has constructed an image as a political reformer and a master manager of a dizzyingly complex state government. He declared his candidacy in front of the Tweed Courthouse steps in 2010, promising to usher in an era of change.
Now, with his campaign manager from that race, Joseph Percoco, convicted on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo must concede that, at best, he did not know about the corrupt scheming occurring in the adjacent office by a man he has likened to a brother.
On top of the corruption scandals, Cuomo’s ability to manage is also under fire over New York’s crumbling subway system.
All combined, Nixon, who is seen as a symbol of New York after six seasons on the HBO show Sex and the City, seems perfectly positioned to run an insurgent campaign as an outsider. Tired of Cuomo and knowing he is looking over their shoulder with an eye on the White House, Democrat primary voters could do what Californians did in making Arnold Schwarzenegger governor, or what America did in making Donald Trump president — shake the establishment up by going outside the box.
Nixon is also damaging Cuomo’s presidential prospects, forcing him to grab the far-left less than two years before the official start of the presidential campaign season. These are foolish positions that are not only outside of where mainstream America stands, but make Cuomo look weak, defensive, and reactionary, which is death for a presidential candidate. One example is Cuomo’s utterly false claim last week that he is an “undocumented person” and that the Italian slur “wop” means “without papers.”
None of this is true.
Cuomo was born in America, as were his parents, one of which was the late Mario Cuomo, who was himself a governor of New York and so American he was considered a serious presidential contender.
Moreover, “wop” also does not mean “without papers.” It is just a slur that has been around for more than a hundred years.
So Nixon not only appears to be gaining on Cuomo, she appears to be living in his head and forcing him to make stupid mistakes.