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NY governor Paterson lacks budget acumen: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than six in 10 New Yorkers faulted Governor David Paterson, who is struggling to close a $9 billion deficit, for his lack of "budget acumen," a Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll said on Friday.

But a separate poll issued on Thursday by Rasmussen Reports found that 55 percent of the voters blamed the legislature for the budget crisis and only 10 percent faulted the governor.

All New York state politicians must stand for election in November and 57 percent of the 500 voters Rasmussen polled on April 27 believed New York politicians were "equally (as) corrupt" as their peers in other states.

The Rasmussen survey was done shortly before former Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno was sentenced to two years in prison for profiting from ties to businesses and lobbyists.

Rasmussen found that 29 percent of the voters believed New York's politicians "are more corrupt than those in other states" and 72 percent said New York would be better off if most incumbents in the legislature were defeated.

The list of New York's recent political scandals include the 2008 resignation of Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer due to a prostitution probe and an ongoing kickback investigation of the pension fund by the state attorney general.

The two polls were issued ahead of an expected battle on Monday between the Democratic governor and the Democratic-run legislature over whether the cash-poor state should save $30 million a week by furloughing 105,000 workers one day a week.

The survey by Poughkeepsie, New York-based Marist also said that 72 percent said it mattered "a good amount" that the state had missed its April 1 budget deadline. The May 3 to 5 survey, which had a 4 percent margin of error, found that 41 percent of the 686 voters surveyed felt Paterson was performing poorly.

Still, Rasmussen, an Asbury Park, New Jersey-based pollster whose survey's margin of error was 4.5 percentage points, said that 28 percent of the New Yorkers polled pinned the state's financial problems on the "overall economic meltdown."

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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