NY gov Paterson's approval rating a record low-poll

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) - New York Governor David Paterson’s approval rating has sunk to a record low following his handling of a Senate successor to Hilary Clinton and widespread criticism of the record budget for fiscal 2010 that passed last week, a poll found on Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,528 New York State registered voters found 60 percent disapprove of the job Paterson is doing, the worst ever rating for a New York governor.

A full 53 percent believe the governor’s approval rating is now so poor that he should withdraw his candidacy for next year’s gubernatorial election.

Paterson was not elected to his current job but took over the role in 2008 after former governor Eliot Spitzer resigned amidst a prostitution scandal.

“The slide started with the Caroline Kennedy flap and deepened with the humongous state budget passed last week,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Paterson was widely criticized for his handling of the appointment of New York’s junior senator to replace Clinton after she became U.S. Secretary of State.

After initially supporting Kennedy for the job, Paterson’s staff planted disparaging stories about her after she withdrew her nomination, sparking a public backlash. The governor eventually named upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to the post.

On Friday, the New York senate approved a record $131.8 billion budget for fiscal 2010 which includes increased spending and taxes to close a two-year $17.7 billion deficit.

The budget had already been passed by the state assembly on March 31. See [ID:nN30329585]

The budget has been slammed by Republicans who strongly opposed the tax hikes, including an increase in personal income tax for high earners.

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos criticized Paterson, House Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith for crafting the budget in a series of behind-doors meetings that excluded the Republican minority.

It was the first time Democrats have led the Senate in decades.

Voters disapprove 70 percent to 19 percent of the way Paterson handled the budget, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Democratic voters disapproved by 63 percent to 25 percent, the poll found.

“There’s nothing good for Paterson in this poll,” said Carroll.

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who plans to run for governor next year, would lead Paterson in a Democratic primary by 61 percent to 18 percent, the poll found. Cuomo has a 75 percent to 14 percent approval rating.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani would top Paterson in a general election by 53 percent to 32 percent, the poll found.

The survey had a margin of error plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. (Reporting by Ciara Linnane; Editing by Andrea Ricci)