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LoHud: Paterson Slips In Poll, Trails Republican Lazio

February 22, 2010

Well, perhaps Lazio has more of a chance than people realize:

During his campaign launch last weekend, Gov. David Paterson admitted he’s had a tough few weeks. Voters seem to agree.

A Siena College poll this morning found that the Democratic governor’s favorability, job performance and electability fell over the last month. He trailed Republican Rick Lazio by seven percentage points and trailed likely primary challenger Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by 42 percentage points.

Paterson kicked off his campaign on Saturday, dismissing the polls and the pundits who find his election to a four-year term unlikely. His election stops in Long Island, Rochester and Buffalo were without many elected leaders.

The Siena poll is the latest to find Paterson continuing to struggle among voters. The governor’s number had improved late last year amid a $3 million ad campaign, but started to fall again in January.

Paterson’s favorability rating was 35 percent, down three percentage points since January. Voters supported Cuomo 64 percent to 22 percent over Paterson in a potential primary, while Paterson trailed Lazio 46 percent to 39 percent, down from a dead heat last month.

In the past month, Paterson has had to beat back rumors about his personal life and released a budget for the 201011 fiscal year that calls for cuts to programs and services. Last week, he proposed delaying income-tax refunds and closing state parks.

“After three months of seeing modest gains his favorability and job performance ratings, Governor Paterson has lost ground with voters over the last month,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.

The poll found that U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had a better than two-to-one lead over former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford in a potential Democratic primary. She trailed former Gov. George Pataki, who has not indicated he will run for the Senate, but had large leads over potential GOP candidates former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman and New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman.

In other issues polled by Siena, 58 percent of voters thought the state Senate was right this month to expel Queens Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat, after his misdemeanor assault conviction involving his girlfriend.

By a 58 percent to 39 percent majority, voters supported allowing New York grocery stores to sell wine—a proposal by Paterson. But voters were opposed 59 percent to 38 percent a proposal by Paterson to tax sugary beverages.

When asked about the state’s top budget priorities, voters listed reducing state spending, lowering state taxes and increasing funding for schools as the top three items.

But nearly three-in-five voters said the Legislature should not cut spending to health care and education, even if it means raising taxes, to close the state’s $8.2 billion budget deficit.

The Siena poll was conducted Feb. 14-19 to 805 New York registered voters. It has a margin of error
of 3.5 percentage points.


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