Andrew Cuomo has big problems with liberals

Some think New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo might run for president in 2016. This poll should give them pause. (Tim Roske/AP)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is seen among the more likely (and more formidable) potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates. But a new poll suggests Cuomo has big problems with his left flank -- and that New York liberals are actually prepared to abandon him en masse.

The Fix's Sean Sullivan wrote a while back that Cuomo was gradually alienating liberals for a variety of reasons, and the new Siena College poll suggests that opposition is more than just a token. The poll -- as most every Cuomo poll does -- shows that the governor is likely to cruise to reelection, thanks to his still-strong approval ratings. Cuomo leads Republican Rob Astorino by 30 points, 58-28.

Where things get interesting is when you toss in a liberal third-party candidate, running under the banner of one of New York's well-established minor parties, the Working Families Party. (The WFP generally backs Democrats but will occasionally oppose Democrats who aren't with it on key issues. It hasn't been happy with Cuomo, particularly for his recent support of charter schools.)

When Cuomo and Astorino are in a three-way race with a hypothetical liberal Working Families Party candidate, Cuomo's share of the vote drops off a cliff, to 39 percent, with this hypothetical candidate taking a shocking 24 percent of the vote.

Now, this is highly hypothetical, and the Working Families Party hasn't said whether it will run an alternative to Cuomo. The poll result also doesn't suggest Cuomo would even lose such a three-way race.

But it does show that liberals aren't particularly enchanted with Cuomo -- to put it lightly -- and that if he ran in 2016, his appeal to the party base would likely be quite limited. Cuomo maintains a relatively strong favorable rating among Democrats (69 percent) and liberals (70 percent), but it's also clear that these groups wish he were more liberal.

Liberal voters say 54-28 that Cuomo is more of a moderate than a liberal, and 80 percent of them say he should govern more as a liberal. They also say by a 2-to-1 margin that he's friendlier with business groups than with organized labor.

None of these are the marks of a favorite of the Democratic Party base -- or someone who can credibly claim to be a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton in a presidential primary.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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