Poll: Paterson Stabilizes as Public Anger Shifts to the Senate

ALBANY—David Paterson's poll numbers have climbed slightly, for the second month in a row, as voters surveyed in a poll released today perceive him as having acted appropriately during the month-long State Senate squabble.

Thirty-six percent of the 623 registered voters surveyed by the Siena Research Institute have a favorable impression of Paterson, up five points from a month ago, and 22 percent approve of the way he is doing his job, a two-point bump from June.

Sixty-four percent of people thought Paterson had some role in resolving the State Senate quagmire, which 77 percent of voters said made them "angry that the senators wasted more than a month of valuable time accomplishing nothing."

"Voters don't see reform coming from this fight and they strongly believe that important legislation will be harder to pass," Steve Greenberg, a spokesman for the Siena Poll, said. "More than half of voters don't want to see either the Democrats or Republicans control the Senate, preferring to see a coalition of both parties in control.  And 71 percent of voters say the last month has made them even less confident in state government to solve the problems facing New York."

Of all the players in the coup, Senator Pedro Espada Jr. fared the worst. Most voters have heard of him, and he has a 46 percent unfavorability rating (compared to 11 percent who look upon him favorably.) The next highest rating for an elected legislator was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has a 38 percent unfavorability rating.

A slight majority–51 percent, compared to 34–believe Paterson acted appropriately in naming Richard Ravitch as his lieutenant governor. That appointment is being contested in court.

But despite the apparent stabilization in his poll numbers and an endorsement of his recent actions, the statistics show Paterson's political future to be…challenging. Voters prefer "someone else" over Paterson 69-17. More people hope that Andrew Cuomo will run for governor than for another term as attorney general, and in a hypothetical primary, Cuomo trounces Paterson among Democrats 65 to 23.

Were he to win the nomination, the poll finds Paterson would lose to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani 57 to 34 but would narrowly beat Rick Lazio 41 to 39.