NY-Gov: Majority of New Yorkers Say Paterson Should Step Aside

A new Quinnipiac University poll (1,528 RVs, April 1- 5, MOE +/- 2.5%) confirms what otherpolls have found: Gov. David Paterson is remarkably unpopular in New York, would lose a primary to Andrew Cuomo and would lose the general election to Rudy Giuliani.

New York State voters disapprove 60 - 28 percent of the job Gov. David Paterson is doing, the lowest approval ever for a New York Governor, and say 63 - 22 percent that he does not deserve to be elected to a full four-year term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. [...]

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, with a near-record high 75 - 14 percent approval rating, tops Paterson in a Democratic primary 61 - 18 percent.

In a general election, Republican Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, tops Paterson 53 - 32 percent.

There is one question that Quinnipiac polls but that has not been polled before to my knowledge, which is whether Paterson should step aside and not run for a full term next year. The response is devastating for Team Paterson.

Gov. Paterson's approval is so low that he should announce now that he won't run for election to a four-year term next year, 53 percent of voters tell the independent Quinnipiac University poll, while 39 percent say he can restore his reputation and should run next year. Even Democrats say 49 - 45 percent that he should drop out of the race now.

Paterson's problems have now clearly transcended his mishandling of the appointment of the Senate seat. He is now being judged more on his actual job as governor than anything else but I have to think his negatives are exagerrated by the contrast with the extraordinarily popular Cuomo, whose profile has only risen in the wake of the AIG bonus scandal. Check out Cuomo's numbers:

"This poll has nothing but good news for Cuomo. His job approval is stratospheric, duplicating his 76 percent approval in February. And in election matchups, he leads Paterson more than 3-1 and shows he's the Democrat who can beat Giuliani," Carroll said.

New York State voters give Cuomo a 63 - 17 percent favorability rating, with a 43 - 33 percent positive among Republicans.

Something tells me David Paterson is second guessing his decision not to appoint Cuomo to the Senate seat.

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NY-Gov: Mr. 26%

Let's concede one point: winter 2009 is not a good time to be a governor. There are budget shortfalls, which require hard choices to cut popular programs and impose unpopular tax increases; no wonder so many are fleeing to the comfort of the administration. But having said that, it takes a special skill to plunge to a level of popularity below the guy who solicited prostitutes and was the focus of a federal sting.

The latest Marist College poll finds Gov. David Patterson's job approval at an historic low, the worst job approval of any governor since they started polling 27 years ago (via NYT):

Only 26 percent of the 1,045 registered voters surveyed said Mr. Paterson was doing either a good or excellent job, while 71 percent said he was doing a fair or poor job. Even Eliot Spitzer had a higher approval rating a year ago, 30 percent, when he was the governor amid his prostitution scandal. The poll results indicate that voters believe Mr. Paterson is working hard and understands the state's problems, but suggests people do not have confidence in his ability to lead.

In head-to-head match-ups both in a Democratic primary against Andrew Cuomo and in a general election against Rudy Giuliani, Patterson gets killed, performing even worse than in previous polls.

Among Democrats, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo trounces Mr. Paterson in a hypothetical primary matchup, 62 to 26 percent. In a general election, Rudolph W. Giuliani would beat Mr. Paterson, 53 to 38 percent, according to the poll.

And how does Cuomo perform against hypothetical Republican opponents?

If Republican Rick Lazio were to campaign against Democratic New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Cuomo would defeat his Republican opponent hands down. 71% of the state's electorate report they would back Cuomo while just 20% would vote for Lazio. Cuomo doesn't do quite as well against Giuliani, yet he still receives majority support and has a wide lead against the former mayor. 56% of voters report Cuomo would be their candidate of choice in this hypothetical matchup. This compares with 39% who would cast their ballot for Giuliani.

I don't know how seriously to take Giuliani's numbers against Patterson; we all remember his heights of popularity nationally when the GOP presidential primary began. But from my perspective, Andrew Cuomo is now required to run to ensure this seat is safe. He was the people's choice for Senator and now he's the people's choice for Governor. It's hard to imagine Patterson recovering from this.

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NY-Gov: David Paterson Still In Trouble Against Cuomo

A new Quinnipiac Poll spells trouble for David Paterson in the 2010 gubernatorial primary against Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. It's a long ways away, of course, but this poll makes clear that New Yorkers just can't seem to let go of the bad taste the Caroline Kennedy debacle left in their mouths.

The Caroline Kennedy caper continues to bedevil New York Gov. David Paterson as he trails Attorney General Andrew Cuomo 55 - 23 in an early look at a 2010 Democratic primary for Governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. [...]

New York State voters approve 45 - 41 percent of the job Paterson is doing, his lowest approval rating in 11 months as Governor and down from 50 - 30 percent January 26.

Voters disapprove 52 - 35 percent of the way Paterson handled the appointment of a U.S. Senator to fill Hillary Clinton's seat. Disapproval is similar across the political spectrum.

These numbers represent a decline for Paterson since a Sierra Research Institute poll taken in late January.

Quinnipiac also finds that Paterson performs far more weakly against Rudy Giuliani in a hypothetical match-up (43-43) than Cuomo does (51-37,) numbers that, if they persist, should compel Cuomo to get in the race next year. Of course, if Paterson had done the thing that was both in his own interest politically and that the people of New York wanted, which was to name Cuomo, his biggest primary threat, to the Senate seat, this would be a moot point. Ironically, in what turned out to be an overly arduous attempt to make the safest choice possible and to "first do no harm", Paterson ended up endangering his own career.

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NY-Gov: Paterson Strengthens Cuomo's Hand

One of the truly puzzling things for me about David Paterson's appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to the US Senate was his insistence on appointing a conservative Democrat to the Senate from one of the bluest of blue states. This is, after all, the state that elected Chuck Schumer with 71% in 2004, Hillary Clinton with 67% in 2006 and Elliot Spitzer to the Governorship with 69% in 2006. Add to that Kerry's 59% of the state in 2004 and Obama's 62% in November and you really have to wonder why Paterson seemed more concerned with picking someone who on paper could win "upstate New York" (read: red-state New York) rather than representing the entire state from a policy perspective.

Conventional wisdom was that Paterson's number one concern was his own legacy -- he did not want to be the guy responsible for losing Democrats a reliable Senate seat. But at what cost? To even have a legacy, you need to stay in office and if Paterson had appointed the more liberal Andrew Cuomo, who was, according to the most recent polling, the people's choice for the appointment, he would have essentially removed his strongest primary opponent. Instead, now at the end of the appointment process, Paterson leaves Cuomo in even stronger position to challenge him in a 2010 gubernatorial primary.

From Sienna Research Institute:

Governor David Paterson‟s lead over Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a potential 2010 gubernatorial primary fell from 23 points in December to just two points today. For the first time since May, Cuomo has a better favorable/unfavorable rating than Paterson, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of registered voters.

Read them and weep, Paterson (December numbers in parentheses):

Head-to-head:

Paterson 35 (49)
Cuomo 33 (26)

Fav/Unfav

Paterson 60/23 (63/21)
Cuomo 64/17 (59/24)

Paterson re-elect

Yes 32 (36)
No 36 (31)

Now, it should be noted that this is not entirely a function of the appointment process, which most observers agree Paterson has mis-handled. People also really dislike most of Paterson's solutions to the budget shortfall including 65% who believe, contrary to Paterson, that "the state should increase the personal income tax (PIT) on those making more than $250,000."

Ultimately, Paterson's sin here seems to be that he's losing touch with what New Yorkers want and if he doesn't start getting in touch, he could really be in danger in 2010, assuming Cuomo chooses to run against him. At this point, I'm inclined to hope he does.

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NY-Sen: Who's Gonna Replace Hillary?

While President-elect Obama has not yet offered Hillary Clinton the job of secretary of state, the speculation over whom Gov. David Patterson will appoint to replace her until a 2010 special election can be called at which point it will be up to the voters, tends to be divided into two camps: Andrew Cuomo and not Andrew Cuomo.

Fox News has the Yes on Andrew Cuomo side covered:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is emerging as the leading contender to take over the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, who is poised to head the State Department after Barack Obama takes offices as President.

Blogs and polls are showing a preference for Cuomo. In a new Marist poll, 43 percent of New York voters said they would like to see Cuomo replace Clinton, 1 percentage point more than those who said they were not sure about their preference.

A Washington DC blog, examiner.com, predicts Cuomo will get the nod.

As for the No on Andrew Cuomo camp, Chris Cilizza names him only the 4th most likely pick at 12 to 1 odds:

Cuomo, the son of the former New York governor, is the biggest name (outside of the Kennedys) in the potential field. And, with Paterson on course to run for a full term in 2010, the Senate could be a nice landing spot for Cuomo. And yet, few party insiders take the prospect of a Sen. Cuomo seriously -- and we don't know why.

Could it be because he doesn't even want the job? From New York Magazine:

Frederic U. Dicker talked to some of the state attorney general's friends, who said that Cuomo "is not inclined" to replace Hillary Clinton if she takes the secretary of State gig and Governor Paterson offers him her seat. Still, many Democrats think he's the obvious choice.

So if not Cuomo, then who? Cilizza cites Thomas Suozzi, the Nassau County businessman who primaried Eliot Spitzer in 2006, and Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20) as the most likely candidates, primarily, it seems, due to their potential statewide appeal come 2010. Whoever is chosen needs to be able to appeal to the areas of the state that have traditionally been most difficult for Democrats: Long Island (which is where Suozzi is from) and upstate (Gillibrand's home turf.) Cilizza cites a few other factors in Gillibrand's corner:

[Gillibrand is] a political dynamo who received the most votes of any New York incumbent (177,667) earlier this month,... her fundraising prowess ($4.6 million raised in the past two years) and the idea of replacing Clinton with another woman, makes her a top prospect.

For those Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fans out there (he topped a straw poll over at dailyKos), conventional wisdom (via Cilizza) is that he may be too liberal to win statewide but remember, he's up for a spot in Obama's administration, possibly even as the head of the EPA, which is where I'd like to see him end up.

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