Why Are Paterson's Poll Numbers Tanking?

Ask the Governor

He says "unfair" press coverage, tough budget times, and Eliot Spitzer's swift departure are to blame.

It's been exactly 11 months since Paterson took over as Governor. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows Paterson would lose to Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic gubernatorial primary next year.

Paterson made it clear he will run for re-election despite his plunging popularity.

Pounding his fist on the podium at a Midtown breakfast speech, Paterson implied the tough budget times are to blame for his poll numbers.  

"I don't care how much they think they're driving my poll numbers down and I don't care how many blind people they roll out in wheelchairs I'm gonna cut this budget if it's the last thing I do."   Paterson was referring to labor unions who have been running TV commercials featuring blind and disabled New Yorkers complaining about proposed health care cuts.

The poll attributes Paterson's numbers to the sloppy Senate selection process, not the budget.

Asked to assess his performance, Paterson told reporters Tuesday morning "I don't think I ever really had the whole transition period to look at the whole operation."

Before becoming Governor, Paterson was Lieutenant Governor, kind of like being Vice President. The role of the job is being ready to step in.

Now after 11 months on the job Paterson faces criticism about his leadership after a messy Senate selection process, and reports that he planned pricey taxpayer funded trips and gave raises to senior staffers during a budget crisis.

Paterson said overall he's cut salaries in his office by 2 million dollars and denied a recent New York Post report that the raises were made "in secret"

Paterson said there was "nothing secret" about the raises, claiming he announced the pay increases before giving them.

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