(CNN) - More bad news for New York Gov. David Paterson: in a new poll, the governor's approval rating plummeted 20 points in a month.
Just 26 percent of the state’s registered voters questioned in a Marist poll released Tuesday say they approve of Paterson’s job performance - the lowest approval rating a New York state governor has received in the poll’s 30-year history, and a sharp decline from the governor’s January showing.
Fifty-three percent of those polled said they would vote for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani if the 2010 vote for governor were held today, while 38 percent said they would back Paterson.
Paterson is losing ground against the former Republican presidential candidate – the two were in a statistical standoff in January's poll, and in November's poll the governor maintained a 51 percent to 41 percent lead.
The sitting governor does fare better than former congressman Rick Lazio. Forty-seven percent would support Paterson in a run against Lazio, while 35 percent would back the congressman. Eighteen percent are undecided.
The state’s financial woes appear to be the reason for Paterson’s sinking approval ratings: Nearly six in 10 of those surveyed say they are dissatisfied with how Paterson is managing New York's budget. Only 30 percent approve of how the governor is handling the state’s financial affairs.
And how do the voters feel about the direction New York is heading? Not great. Sixty-five percent are not happy with the trajectory of the Empire State, with just 27 percent reporting that the state is moving along the right path.
But there may be a silver lining for Paterson: 77 percent of those surveyed think the governor is working hard, and 62 percent believe he understands the problems of voters. Fourty-four percent think Paterson's a good leader.
The Marist poll was conducted February 25-26, with 1,045 New York state registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.