A slim majority of New York voters want Sheldon Silver to step down as speaker of the state Assembly, according to a new poll Wednesday.
Quinnipiac University found 51 percent of state voters would prefer if Silver, the powerful Manhattan Democrat who has held the Assembly post since 1994, would step down. Just 22 percent want him to stay, the poll found, with the remaining 27 percent unsure of their position.
Silver has faced criticism from Republicans and at least two members of his conference for his handling of sexual harassment allegations against now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn. The speaker did not refer two initial 2012 complaints against Lopez to the Assembly Ethics Committee for investigation, instead choosing to confidentially settle the matter with $103,080 in public funds.
“The Vito Lopez sex scandal persuades a bare majority of New Yorkers that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should step aside,” Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said in a statement. “A lot of voters say get rid of the pack of them; there should be a legislative house-cleaning.”
Silver has resisted calls to step aside, apologizing for his inaction and calling for the creation of an independent investigator to handle future harassment complaints in the Assembly.
Still, 58 percent of New Yorkers would not allow their daughter to be an Assembly intern, Quinnipiac found. A total of 35 percent said they would.
Four female staffers lodged formal complaints against Lopez, once one of the Assembly’s most senior members. He resigned last month after he was found by the state’s ethics board to have broken the Public Officers Law.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job-approval rating took a slight dip, according to the poll. Fifty-three percent of state voters approve of the job Cuomo has done as governor, compared to 30 percent who disapprove. That’s down from 57 percent who approved in April.
The Quinnipiac survey included 1,075 New York voters between May 29 and June 3. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
(AP file photo/Mike Groll)