Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Floundering at the Top

The latest Q-Poll is abysmal news for the battered governor of New York; and is not good news for those of us who want to see the state weather the fiscal crisis through strong political leadership. As the NY Post reports: "Gov. Paterson was on the ropes yesterday after a stunning new poll showed Attorney General Andrew Cuomo clobbering him by 32 points in a primary match up. Cuomo - who sources say is eyeing a run for governor - defeats fellow Democrat Paterson by 55-23 percent, the Quinnipiac University survey found."

These numbers reflect the public's reaction to Paterson's dithering around the choice of a senate replacement for Hillary Clinton; but also his rather lackluster, and uneven performance stewarding the state during the budget crisis. And, given the attacks on his budget choices, it doesn't appear likely that things will improve: "And his administration and campaign staff have been derided as rudderless - while he has little but bad budget news to deliver in coming months."

And all Cuomo has to do is wait in the wings; because if the governor continues to flounder-and the flap over the pay raises for his staff only makes him more vulnerable-the party may simply ask him to leave: "The appropriate thing for Andrew Cuomo to be doing is to run for re-election," said Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who added that Paterson's poll numbers suggest down-ballot Democratic seats - such as the state Senate majority, the state comptroller and new members of Congress - could be at risk. "The Democrats very well at this point may ask the governor not to run," Sheinkopf said. "The governor's got to save himself."

The worst bit of poll news is Paterson's hypothetical match up with Rudy Giuliani: "Against potential GOP challenger Rudy Giuliani, Paterson - who governs a state with a strong majority of Democrat-registered voters - runs even at 43 percent, the survey shows. But Cuomo thumps Giuliani by 51-37 percent, the poll shows." These numbers will invoke the Ted Mack Amateur Hour response-a hook for performers who the audience disapproves of.