3/2: Voters Say Paterson Shouldn’t Resign But Can He Govern?

In the wake of a political scandal that ended Governor David Paterson’s hopes of a full elected term in office, most registered voters in New York State – 66% — say they want the governor to finish out his term in office.  Only 28% are calling for Paterson’s resignation.  6% are unsure.

New York Gov. David Paterson

New York Gov. David Paterson (Photo courtesy of New York State).

But, do they think Governor Paterson will be able to govern effectively?  62% of voters in New York State think, if the governor does not resign, he will not be an effective leader during the remainder of his term.  This includes 39% who believe he will not be very effective and 23% who say he will not be effective at all.  On the flip side, 34% think he’ll be able to fulfill his responsibilities as governor during the next ten months.  Included here are 7% who report the governor will be very effective and 27% who say he will be effective.

Click Here for Complete March 2, 2010 Gubernatorial NYS Poll Release and Tables

“When it comes to Governor Paterson resigning from office, New Yorkers are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “But, regarding his ability to govern effectively, voters have plenty of doubts.”

Table: Paterson Resignation
Table: Paterson’s Effectiveness

Most Voters Aware of Scandal…View Paterson’s Role As Wrong

The current controversy facing Paterson focuses on a possible domestic violence case against one of the governor’s top aides.  And, unfortunately for Paterson, the electorate has not been insulated from the headlines.  82% of registered voters report they have heard about the case while 18% have not.

What do voters think about Paterson’s actions when he spoke with the alleged victim leading up to her court appearance?  40% think he acted unethically but not illegally while 18% feel he acted illegally.  Just 12% believe he did nothing wrong, and 30% are unsure.

But, is the governor being treated fairly?  55% of registered voters statewide say he is while 36% think he is getting a raw deal.

Table: Awareness of Aide’s Domestic Violence Case
Table: Voters’ Views on Paterson’s Alleged Role
Table: Fairness of Paterson’s Treatment

Paterson’s Job Approval Rating Low But Steady

Governor Paterson’s already low job approval rating has been little affected by the news of the scandal.  In a Marist Poll conducted just last night, 23% say Paterson is doing either an excellent or good job in office.  33% think he is doing an average job, and 38% believe he is completely missing the mark.  6% are unsure.

When Marist asked about Mr. Paterson’s job approval rating in the days leading up to his announcement last Friday, 24% of registered voters statewide thought he was doing either an excellent or good job in office.  40% said he was doing an average job, and 32% reported he was performing poorly.  4% were unsure.

Table: Paterson Approval Rating (Before)
Table: Paterson Approval Rating (After)
Table: Paterson Approval Rating Over Time

Click on the graph for a larger image.

Click on the graph for a larger image.

New York’s Next Governor?  Richard Ravitch’s Job Approval Rating

If Governor Paterson steps down, Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch will take over the reins of the state.  What do voters think of his job performance?  44% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  15% think he is doing either an excellent or good job in office, and 29% report he is performing fairly well.  12% say he is doing a poor job.

Table: Ravitch Approval Rating

Marist Poll Methodology

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