Poll: Paterson Still in ‘Cellar’

ALBANY—It’s not working yet.

David Paterson’s relentless fiscal hawkishness has not significantly improved his job approval rating, a poll released today by Siena College finds. The survey shows 19 percent of registered voters surveyed approve of Paterson’s performance and 27 percent have a favorable opinion of him. That’s not significantly different than a month ago.

“By every measure, voters continue to keep Governor Paterson in the electoral cellar, and by every measure, Paterson’s numbers are within a handful of points or less of his all time record lows,” said poll spokesman Steven Greenberg. “It is now nine consecutive months of a favorable rating below 40 percent and eight consecutive months of a job approval rating below 25 percent.”

The poll finds Paterson losing a hypothetical match-up to Rudy Giuliani and narrowly edging Rick Lazio. Andrew Cuomo’s hypothetical lead over Giuliani has narrowed by six points in the last month, the poll finds, to 50-43. A majority of the 624 voters surveyed also said Cuomo can postpone an announcement of a gubernatorial bid.

Paterson’s plan for rehabilitation has been to position himself as the guy making tough decisions about the budget: he doesn’t like it, but he’s sucking it up and showing leadership. The poll found that the nuances of this position are lost on the voting public: 56 percent of voters surveyed said they are less likely to vote for Paterson if he enacts “significant cuts in education and health care spending,” as Paterson has proposed. However, 53 percent of voters said they’re more likely to vote for Paterson if he is able to balance the budget without any broad-based tax increases.

Paterson’s criticism of legislators also doesn’t seem to be sticking. The poll finds blame is fairly evenly spread between the governor and legislature: 13 percent of voters blame the Governor most for the state’s budget deficit, 19 percent blame the Democrats who control the Senate, 14 percent blame the Democrats who control the Assembly, 8 percent blamed both houses of the legislature and 20 percent blamed both Paterson and lawmakers.

The poll’s margin of error is 3.9 percent.