Rick Lazio 7 Points Ahead of Soon-to-Be-Ex-Governor Paterson: Poll

Governor Paterson launched his election campaign this weekend in a whirlwind tour of Rochester, West Seneca, and Manhattan. Thus buoyed, he told Arnold Schwarzenegger in D.C. today that "I'm the Teflon Governor."

You know the poor man can't get away with that kind of good cheer without something bad happening to him. Now a new Siena Poll says that Paterson's running so badly, he can't even beat GOP challenger Rick Lazio, whom he'd been edging in recent surveys.

Though his traditionally-low unfavorable rating only went up slightly, to 55 percent, his doing-a-poor-job number leapt seven points in one month to 37 percent. And Paterson's down seven points to Lazio, 46-39. Lazio, the most seriously regarded actual candidate for the GOP nomination, had edged Paterson by three points in November, but has polled behind him since Siena started asking in January of 2009.

Another good sign for Lazio: His don't-know number has declined steadily, and his favorable number is at an all-time high -- albeit only 31 percent. Still, if he runs against Andrew Cuomo instead of Paterson, as many expect, he gets his brains beat in, which is probably why Lazio had been so supportive of Paterson -- until Paterson actually declared for governor, which caused Lazio to denounce him along with the other Democratic candidates, Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer.

Kirsten Gillibrand's quiet campaign seems to be working for her: Although her slowly diminishing don't-know number seems to be siphoning off into both the favorable and unfavorable categories, and most voters would prefer "someone else," she beats both declared GOP contender Bruce Blakeman and unannounced Democratic challenger Harold Ford. She's still six points down to unlikely late entrant George Pataki.

Both President Obama and Chuck Schumer have favorable ratings of 61 percent.


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