Poll: Cuomo right at Paterson's heels

Governor Paterson tried to show he's listening today by cancelling one bad idea -- the tax-payer-financed junket he'd planned to the glitzy World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

But the poor guy can't catch a break:  A new poll has his would-be rival, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, just two points behind him in a potential pimary contest --  a big catch-up for Cuomo who was trailing the gov by 23 percent just last month.

The Siena Research Institute survey also found that most New Yorkers dislike Paterson's nibble taxes -- the added levies he seeks on fattening drinks, movie tickets, and music downloads. At the same time, two-thirds of New Yorkers think the governor should ask wealthier taxpayers -- those earning $250,000 and above -- to shell out more in taxes to help meet the budget crunch.   

Overall, respondents still view Paterson favorably -- 60-23 percent. But his job performance numbers fell to a 51-45 rating, down from 55-40 last month. Only 32 percent of  voters, including 40 percent of Democrats, say they're ready to elect him in 2010. Thirty-six percent would prefer someone else. 

"Governor Paterson has taken a significant hit with voters in the last month and the question is whether this is a blip or the start of a trend," said Siena's Steven Greenberg.

The Working Families Party, which has been pushing for a so-called "millionaire's tax" for months, hailed the new numbers on the tax levies: "Governor Paterson talks about shared sacrifice, but New Yorkers aren't buying it," said party honcho Dan Cantor. "Today's Siena poll confirms what we already knew: there's a better choice, and most New Yorkers know it.


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