Newly elected U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) stands alone on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives during voting for a new House Speaker on the third day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
Scandal-plagued Republican Rep. George Santos should resign from Congress, voters from his own state of New York said overwhelmingly in a new poll released Monday.
Some 59% of registered Empire State voters say Santos, who admitted he lied and is facing multiple investigations, should resign, according to the latest survey by the Siena College Research Institute. Among Republicans, nearly half agreed that he should go.
Just 17% of respondents told Siena they believe Santos should stay in office. The poll of 821 New York state registered voters, conducted between Jan. 15-19, has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
Santos’ favorability rating fared no better, the poll showed: By a more than 3-to-1 margin, 16% to 56%, voters in New York hold an unfavorable opinion of the freshman lawmaker. That minus-40 net favorability rating includes 56% of Republican respondents, along with majorities of Democrats and independents, Siena found.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they didn’t know Santos or had no opinion on him — a smaller proportion than six-term Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who recently became the Democratic leader in the House.
Santos has vowed to serve out his full two-year term in the House, brushing off scorching condemnation from his own fellow Republicans in Long Island, where his congressional district is located.
He has faced constant, intensifying scrutiny after a bombshell New York Times report last month questioned major details of the newly elected congressman’s biography, including his education and professional history.
Santos has admitted to “embellishing” parts of his resume and apologized, though he has not responded to all of the questions surrounding his claims about himself.
He has also denied some of the most damning allegations against him, including that he took off with thousands of dollars that were raised to help fund an operation for a disabled veteran’s dying dog.
Santos has also not explained questions about the source of his apparent wealth, some of which was used to fund his successful congressional campaign.
Investigators at the federal, state, local and international level are looking into Santos.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other top Republicans have declined to join calls for Santos to resign. McCarthy leads a slim GOP House majority, which has already proven difficult to unify after the vote to elect him speaker took 15 tries.
If Santos were to leave office, it would likely trigger a competitive special election in New York for his seat.