September 22nd, 2009
10:32 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: New York governor not getting job done

A new poll shows bad news for New York Gov. David Paterson, days after President Obama reportedly made it clear he does not want Paterson to run for reelection.
A new poll shows bad news for New York Gov. David Paterson, days after President Obama reportedly made it clear he does not want Paterson to run for reelection.

(CNN) - A new poll suggests that nearly three out of four New York State voters like Gov. David Paterson - but don't think he's getting the job done.

The Siena College Research Institute survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that more than six out of 10 say Paterson doesn't have the leadership skills to be governor and feel he's not effectively dealing with the problems facing New York.

According to the poll, 18 percent of people questioned say Paterson's doing a good or excellent job in office, with eight in 10 saying he's doing a fair or poor job as governor. The 18 percent who say Paterson's doing a good or excellent job is down 5 points from Siena's August survey.

"Voters say Gov. Paterson is well intentioned but ineffective. They say he lacks leadership skills and is off the mark on handling the state's fiscal situation. Voters say he's not too liberal but is not fighting for people like me," says Siena New York pollster Steven Greenberg. "While voters overwhelmingly don't believe that Paterson's blindness hinders his ability, they believe his actions – or lack of actions – as Governor define him as ineffective."

Paterson has even lost his own party, says Greenberg: Democrats, "by a significant margin," believe he is well-intentioned but ineffective, bad on fiscal issues and lacking leadership skills.

The poll's release comes one day after the White House refused to confirm or deny a report that President Barack Obama urged Paterson not to seek a full term in 2010. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs - asked about a New York Times report which said that Obama "sent a request" to Paterson urging him to step aside from the governor's race - said Paterson is in a "tough situation" and said ultimately the decision on whether or not he is going to make a bid to keep his job next year is one "that he's going to make."

Informed sources tell CNN that White House political director Patrick Gaspard met early last week with the Democratic governor to let him know about the administration's concerns he could not win the governor's race next year - a problem that could affect races down-ticket, not the least of which Senate seat now held by Kirsten Gillibrand. The White House decision to approach Paterson, says one source, "was driven by the poll numbers. There doesn't seem to be any way he can recover."

Paterson, who was lieutenant governor when a scandal led to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's departure from the office in March 2008, has said he's running next year for a full term as governor.

The poll indicates that Paterson trails New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by a greater than 3 to 1 margin in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup. Cuomo, the son of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, has not indicated whether he'll challenge Paterson.

President Obama met with Cuomo and other top New York state officials Tuesday when he was in upstate New York for a speech on the economy and education. Paterson did not attend the meeting, but did greet the president at an airport arrival. Obama did recognize the governor at the top of his speech.

The Siena survey suggests that Paterson trails possible Republican challenger Rudy Giuliani by 17 points in a hypothetical general election matchup, down from a 23 point deficit in the August poll. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, has said he'll make up his mind later this year whether he'll mount a bid for New York governor.

Rick Lazio, a former Republican congressman from Long Island who lost to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate battle in New York, announced his own gubernatorial run Tuesday. The poll suggests Paterson has a 4-point edge pver Lazio in a hypothetical matchup, within the survey's sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The Siena College Research Institute telephone poll of 792 voters was conducted September 13-17.

–CNN's Jessica Yellin and Gloria Borger contributed to this report


Filed under: David Paterson
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Cuomo for governor.

    September 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. mark

    Keep on doing a great job patterson, Giuliani for gov!

    September 22, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Paterson is a great governor. He is black and blind, which makes him a two-fer in Dem circles.

    Even those across the aisle that don't want him reelected should still support their governor. Especially in the primaries (hint hint). Come on over, the water is fine.

    September 22, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Doug, New Jersey

    Let's face it, New York is so lib that Hitler and Bin Laden would win the election if they ran with a little d next to their name. These libs don't bother to read the names on the ballot, they just blindly with their hate, anger, dishonesty, and lack of moral and values rulling them, vote Democrat. Spend some time amongst these libs, you see why you cannot give them the same gun carry laws that work so great in red areas, there would be tens of thousands of people killed the first day the law is enacted. Don't worry, they still get their libness out pretty well with their automobiles, their defacto lib weapon of choice.

    September 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Mississippi Mike

    That's what happens when you elect someone based on factors other than ability.

    September 22, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. SLM

    Sounds like a poll of Obama, people like him, but doing a lousy job. So who is Obama to tell him not to run. Will Obama NOT run in 2012 when he stands ZERO chance of winning?

    September 22, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. dj

    why is our president trying to direct elections in New York, this would seem inappropriate behavior and should not be at the top of his priority list at this moment. He is not working for the democratic party, he is working for the American people and should focus on the tasks at hand. Oh wait, maybe the tax payers are on the hook for a new campaign.

    September 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Paterson is a dub; bring back Switzer

    September 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Jimmy

    Likable person – Lousy job=Obama.

    September 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Jackie in Dallas

    I'm sure we will hear from the GOP rant-makers, but I'd like to remind them that as President, President Obama IS the titular head of the Democratic Party and has every right to make suggestions to Paterson. There was a lot of garbage yesterday about Obama interferring in states rights, but, guess what? He's not. He has every right as his party's chief to make suggestions, but even Obama's staff says it is up to Paterson.

    Giuliani, weird. Has he got anything to say other than "blah, blah, 9/11 blah blah" yet?

    September 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Proud Member..Party of No

    "Poll: New York governor not getting job done".......the same could be said about the president.

    September 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. geecee

    So, despite the fact that this man is not doing the job that the people of New York would prefer, the White House should support him for election as Governor? Sure, make a great political blunder, why not. That would sure make the Rethugs happy. Obama isn't stupid, of course he is going to support a strong candidate – Cuomo, who will definitely beat Giuliani without a doubt.

    September 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Steve in CT

    Does Paterson have low numbers because of race as well? Or is it because he's ineffective? Someone should burn the race card.

    September 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. phoenix86

    New Yorkers, following the pied piper in the White House.

    Still have trouble thinking for yourselves I see.

    September 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Joe

    He can't see the writing on the wall

    September 22, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Jayden,FL

    Paterson please don't run in 2010! we need to keep NY democratic! let Cuomo run!!!

    September 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. S Callahan

    Somewhere in NYS at someone's kitchen table a leader is emerging for NYS....in the meantime we have to deal with the scraps handed to us.

    As for Cuomo....he is so good at what he is doing now I would hate to see him leave that role. He has built up his creditbility and seems to be in tune to the real decpetion of the corporate world that harms average Joe.

    September 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Governor Paterson's problems are partly his making, and partly the circumstances that he has found himself handling.

    1) The appointment of Senator Gillibrand was simply silly. Any political science student in NY can tell you that upstate candidates simply can't get elected to high office in NY – every senator and governor for the past 40 years have come from NYC or its immediate suburban counties. Gillibrand is outside of the mainstream of the Democratic party in NY, and out of the political and geographic mainstream of NY state.

    2) He has been helpless in getting the NY Senate to get beyond their partisan meltdown. The numeric tie between Dems and Reps in the Senate has led to the liklihood that it will do NOTHING until the next election. This is not something he created, but something he is perceived as not doing enough to remedy.

    As a Democrat I agree that people like governor Paterson – but for many reasons (fair and unfairly placed at his doorstep) he needs to go.

    September 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Kip Barkley

    Sounds like the people of NY elected Paterson because of his good intentions? If he was good enough to be Lt Gov, why isn't he good enough to be gov?

    September 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Well, perhaps Jimmy Carter should say all this negative press about Governor Patterson is simply because he's blind? Those kinds of allegations work so well for him in the past.

    September 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Jacob

    No doubt Paterson does not have the skills or experience to govern just like the Campaigner & Chief. That is why it is beyond comical that Obama in all his incomptence decided to insert himself into the situation.

    September 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Rob

    Well he's just falling right in step with the President and the Dem controlled Congress, so we shouldn't be surprised.

    By 2010 the word Democrat will be associated with ineffectiveness. By 2012 it will also be associated with complete and utter failure.

    Friends don't let friends vote Democrat

    September 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Joe Black

    The problem is that Paterson is too nice. In order to destroy Giuliani, a man with no scruples, New Yorkers will need a stronger attack dog as their democratic candidate.

    September 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Ted

    NY STate has always had strong governors such as Rockefeller, Cuomo, Carey and the like. this guy is a wimp and needs to go.

    Native Upstate New Yorker

    September 22, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. What Can U Say?

    Gov. Paterson, I'm not sure who is encouraging you to run in 2010, but time and again NY'ers have made their voices loud and clear on this topic. We respect you sir, but you are not the governor we need. You will not have the majority of our votes, and you will not suceed in this race. Please have some respect, as your predecessor did, and defer to what is right for the people, not what is favorable for your ego.

    September 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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