5/4: Paterson Approval Rating: Scraping Bottom?

How low can New York Governor David Paterson’s job approval rating go? Based on the latest Marist Poll numbers, it can still go lower, but not by much! Not quite one-fifth of New York registered voters statewide — 19% — report that Governor David Paterson is doing either an excellent or good job in office. That is a seven percentage point drop since The Marist Poll last asked this question in its March 2009 survey. In fact, voters are so dissatisfied with the governor’s performance that a majority — 51% — say they would prefer his sex scandal-plagued predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, be in office than he. On both questions, Paterson doesn’t even receive backing from a majority of voters in his own party. Just 22% of Democrats think he is doing well as governor, and half say, “Resurrect Spitzer!”

Table: Paterson’s Approval Rating
Table: Rather Have as Governor


Governor Paterson addresses the 100 Black Men dinner at the New York Hilton (Courtesy New York State).

Paterson’s Image Takes a Hit
Is there a silver lining for Governor Paterson? Well, 66% of registered voters across the state believe he is working hard as governor. However, that, too, is a drop from Marist’s March 2009 poll when 77% of the state’s electorate thought he was toiling away for New York. But, that’s where the praise for Paterson ends. 66% of voters say he does not have what it takes to lead the state while just 28% think he is a good leader. Paterson fares a little better on whether he understands the problems facing the state, but he still does not receive majority support from voters. In fact, with 48% reporting that the governor just doesn’t get the critical issues facing New York and 47% saying he does, the electorate is divided.

Looking at one of the most pressing problems in New York State – the economic crisis – 68% of the electorate disapproves of how Paterson is handling the situation, and 23% approve. Voters also do not believe Governor Paterson is a man for all New Yorkers. Nearly six in ten voters — 58% — report he does not represent all regions of the state while 34% think he does. And, when you zoom into Albany, a whopping 71% believe the governor is not changing daily, political operations for the better. David Paterson isn’t even viewed by a majority of the electorate as a governor who cares about the average person. 51% think he is not in tune with the needs of people like them compared with 42% who think the opposite is true. On all of these questions, public opinion was far more positive for Governor Paterson in The Marist Poll’s March 2009 survey.

There is a new issue on Governor Paterson’s plate – the swine flu outbreak. How do voters think he is handling this health concern? 46% approve of his management, and 18% disapprove. 36% are unsure.

Table: Paterson is Working Hard As Governor
Table: Paterson is a Good Leader for NYS
Table: Paterson Understands the Problems Facing NYS
Table: Paterson Handling Economic Crisis
Table: Paterson Represents All Regions of the State
Table: Paterson Is Changing the Way Things Work In Albany for the Better
Table: Paterson Cares About People Like You
Table: Paterson Handling Swine Flu Outbreak

Turn This Ship Around: Nearly Seven In Ten Think NYS Moving In Wrong Direction

Registered voters in New York State are pessimistic about the direction of the state. 67% report the state is moving along the wrong path while 27% say the Empire State is right on track. These findings are comparable to those in Marist’s March 2009 survey.

Table: NYS Direction Table

Marist Poll Methodology

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The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff says Paterson might have to do something dramatic to reverse his plummeting popularity: