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Poll: Paterson's negative numbers continue

New York Gov. David Paterson prepares for a

New York Gov. David Paterson prepares for a live televised address at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Tim Roske) Credit: AP Photo/Tim Roske

ALBANY - For the seventh month in a row, more voters have a negative view of Gov. David A. Paterson than a positive one, according to a poll released Monday.

The Siena Research Institute found 55 percent of registered voters had an unfavorable opinion of the governor while 32 percent viewed him favorably. That compares to 56-36 last month and 57-31 in June.

Paterson's negative reviews began surpassing the positive ones in February, weeks after his aides gave the media damaging information about Caroline Kennedy, who had sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Paterson eventually selected Kirsten Gillibrand, a congresswoman from upstate Hudson.

Siena found that fewer than one in five voters would return Paterson to the Executive Mansion next year. More than two-thirds said they wanted "someone else."

Paterson would be defeated by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a hypothetical Democratic primary, 23 percent to 65 percent. The gap between the two has narrowed since June, though Paterson was last on top in January.

In general election matchups, Paterson trails former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, 33-56, but is tied with former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-Brightwaters). Cuomo would defeat Giuliani, 53-40, and trounce Lazio.

In the wake of last month's leadership coup in the State Senate, 37 percent of voters would re-elect their senator while 43 percent "prefer someone else." Twenty percent had no opinion. Last month, only 31 percent backed their senator.

Still, more than half of voters said today's state politicians are subpar compared with those of 40 and 50 years ago. By a margin of 54-7, today's officeholders have less integrity than those of the distant past, according to the poll.

"Voters are fairly evenly divided on the issue of politicians' intelligence," said pollster Steven Greenberg. "However, they overwhelmingly say that today's politicians have less integrity, work less hard for their constituents and demonstrate less fairness than New York politicians of 40 and 50 years ago."

Fifty-four percent said they were "completely frustrated" with Albany and wished "we could throw them all out and elect new leaders." Forty percent said state leaders were "doing the best they can" in a difficult economy.

The poll of 621 voters, conducted Aug. 17-20, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage point.

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