NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Democratic Governor David Paterson's ratings with voters in the 2010 gubernatorial race were near record lows while his rivals gained ground, a poll released on Tuesday showed.
Only 15 percent of the 624 voters polled between October 14 and 18 would re-elect Paterson while 72 percent preferred someone else, the poll by Siena College's Research Institute found.
The governor's job performance was rated negative by 79 percent to 19 percent.
Both the performance rating and the preference for another candidate only firmed by 1 percentage point in Paterson's favor, which is within the 3.9 percent point margin of error.
"By every measure, voters continue to keep Governor Paterson in the electoral cellar," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement.
The poll is the latest blow for the embattled governor who is seeking re-election despite reports that President Barack Obama has urged him not to and a series of polls showing he would lose to Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.
Cuomo slightly extended his lead over the governor to 70 percent to 20 percent for Paterson, compared 66 percent for Cuomo last month to Paterson's 20 percent last month. Voters say Cuomo should run for governor instead of attorney general by a 49 percent to 36 percent margin.
Cuomo, in an Albany radio interview, repeated that he planned to seek re-election but made it clear he was not taking a hands off approach. Saying he believed voters "want a different direction," he said later: "I am looking forward to the discussion on what should the state be doing in the midst of this crisis and what should the government be doing."
New York, like most states, has seen the recession-driven slide in tax revenues spawn a deficit.
Giuliani, a Republican who has flirted with running for governor, slightly widened his lead over Paterson to 56 percent versus 33 percent this month, compared with 52 percent for Giuliani compared with 35 percent for Paterson last month. The former mayor, who recently campaigned on behalf of the current New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, also gained a little ground on Cuomo from last month's survey.
Asked about the deficit, voters blame the Democrats, who control the state Senate and the Assembly, more than the governor and they believe the legislature should be responsible for proposing ways to fix the budget, the poll found.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Flood Morrow in Albany and Joan Gralla and Tom Ryan in New York; Editing by Kenneth Barry)