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Paterson Sees Poll Numbers Dropping

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-817427.mp3

Buffalo, NY – It appears the controversy surrounding last week's appointment of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand as New York's new senator has left Governor David Paterson politically vulnerable.

It could be due to the drastic cuts in the coming year's state budget. Or perhaps it's because of his handling of the Senate appointment. Whatever the reason, a Siena Research Institute poll released Monday shows Paterson losing ground to two potential opponents in next year's gubernatorial election.

He's in a statistical dead heat with fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who may decide to challenge Paterson in a party primary. The same holds true in a potential race between Paterson and Republican Rudy Giuliani. Neither potential challenger has given any indication yet of their interest in running.

Monday, Paterson distanced himself from remarks attributed to his administration that disparaged Caroline Kennedy, who was seeking the Senate appointment before her abrupt withdrawal. Paterson is denying he had any role in the leak about unsubstantiated allegations Kennedy had problems with taxes, payments to a nanny, and in her marriage.

Paterson says he would love to know who made the leaks to several reporters. He described the leak as a "pretty serious thing."

Trying to put the controversy behind him, Paterson has previously described Kennedy as a "great friend" and a "great New Yorker."