Gov. David Paterson’s lead over Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a potential Democratic gubernatorial primary next year dropped from 23 points last month to just two points now, according to a Siena poll today.
The poll, by the Siena Research Institute, found Paterson leading Cuomo among Democrats only 35 percent to 33 percent, compared to 49 percent to 26 percent a month ago.
“Whether because of the prolonged Senate selection situation or on-going budget issues, voters are less inclined to support Gov. Paterson for election today than they were only one month ago,” said Siena poll spokesman Steven Greenberg.
But a big majority of those questioned by Siena still think highly of him. He has a 60-23 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, down only slightly from 63-22 percent last month.
But Cuomo, son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo who was elected attorney general in 2006, is even more popular, with a 64-17 percent favorable rating.
Cuomo has not said publicly what his plans are for 2010. Paterson has said Cuomo has told him he will not run against him.
Paterson has been roundly criticized for the way he picked Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to take the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, angering supporters of Caroline Kennedy, who wanted the job and was viewed as the front-runner for the post.
He also is urging significant cuts in spending and higher taxes and fees to close a $15.4 billion budget gap.
Voters told Siena pollsters that they preferred “someone else’’ for governor next year, over Paterson, 36 percent to 32 percent.
In a hypothetical matchup with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Paterson was ahead 44-42 percent, down from 51-38 percent in December.
Cuomo would beat Giuliani 48-39 percent, close to the 50-37 percent margin last month, according to the poll.
Both of the Democrats would easily defeat former Congressman and 2000 U.S. Senate candidate Rick Lazio of Suffolk County, Paterson by 30 points and Cuomo by 44 points, the poll found.