CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo last week, citing what it had just learned about his efforts to aid his brother, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, respond to sexual misconduct allegations. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, Americans say they agree with CNN’s decision to fire Cuomo by an overwhelming five-to-one margin: 65% agree with the firing and 12% disagree.
Republicans and Democrats generally agree with the decision, and with each other. Republicans agree by 75% to 9%. Democrats, who may have started with a more favorable view of Cuomo and his brother, a Democratic politician, agree with his firing by 62% to 15%. Those respondents who say CNN is their top cable news source are a bit more conflicted. Still, by 49% to 23%, they agree with the firing.
When respondents are asked how they feel about Cuomo himself, he fares worse than his brother did just before he resigned as New York’s governor. In late March, 19% of adults said they had a favorable opinion of Andrew Cuomo, while 53% said their opinion of him was unfavorable. This week, in the poll begun just after the announcement of Chris Cuomo’s firing, 13% said they held a favorable opinion of the CNN anchor, while 60% said their opinion of him was unfavorable.
CNN said it fired Chris Cuomo because he violated workplace rules for reporters and employees by assisting his brother when Andrew faced accusations of sexual misconduct. For most Americans, this is not a good reason to violate workplace regulations. Just 14% said it is OK for employees to ignore workplace rules in order to help a close family member defend themselves against accusations of misconduct. More than four times that percentage (60%) say ignoring those rules is not acceptable behavior.
Given similar circumstances, only 15% of Americans say they personally would have done what Chris Cuomo did – ignore workplace rules to help a close family member, while 42% say they would not have done that. But nearly as many, 38%, aren’t sure exactly what they would have done if they had been in Chris Cuomo’s position; 6% preferred not to say. Younger adults are the most likely to say they would help a family member, even at the risk of violating workplace rules: 24% of Americans under 30 would violate workplace rules to help a family member, while 45% say they would not.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between December 4 and December 7, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.