(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