Gov. Cuomo, “crazed with anger” and increasingly abusive to those around him, fears the first round of public polling since the “Morelandgate” scandal will take a major toll on his — until-now — sky-high popularity, administration insiders say.
He won’t have long to wait.
A poll designed to gauge the scandal’s impact will be released this week by the Marist Institute of Public Opinion and it could have a major impact on Cuomo’s race against Republican Rob Astorino and on his Democratic primary battle with Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor.
Administration insiders, aware of private polling data already collected by Cuomo’s campaign, say the public poll likely will show the governor’s approval rating plummeting.
“The bad news is starting to stick. This is very serious,’’ a senior Cuomo administration figure nervously told The Post.
A second source close to Cuomo said, “We know the governor is damaged. The only question is how badly.’’
Cuomo fears a drop in the polls will trigger an influx of funds and other aid to Astorino’s cash-starved campaign and boost momentum for Teachout’s challenge.
Sources described Cuomo, who has “lawyered up’’ in the face of an ongoing criminal investigation by Southern District US Attorney Preet Bharara, as angry at his staff and furious at himself — especially over last week’s mishandling of what was supposed to be a carefully prepared counteroffensive against the scandal.
“Andrew tried to be too cute by half. He was going to orchestrate a response to the scandal to show there’s really no scandal there, but instead, he may have been involved in a federal crime,’’ said a longtime Cuomo associate, referring to Bharara’s warning to Cuomo last week that he could be guilty of interfering with federal witnesses. “Now he’s crazed with anger, and he’s taking it out on a lot of people around him,’’ the associate continued.
The scandal hit mid-summer, so it's hard to know how damaging the poll plummet will be this first round of polling, with so many people on vacation or with their attention on other matters.
But the scandal news continues to roll in - this morning we learned that Cuomo's former aide, Larry Schwartz, agreed to "voluntarily" talk to prosecutors over the Moreland matter to avoid being subpoenaed by the US attorney investigating.
Cuomo's counsel, Mylan Denerstein, will go in front of the grand jury as well.
Since the scandal news keeps rolling in, the scandal headlines keep coming and that means the damage to Cuomo's reputation and the potential fall-out to his poll numbers hasn't stopped.
If this continues well into fall, Cuomo could see what was supposed to be a walk in the park re-election turn into something much closer.
And that's without an October Surprise engineered by Bharara.
That may still be in the pipeline as well.