Andrew Cuomo (D)

David Paterson (D)

Rudy Giuliani (R)

ALBANY (Legal Newsline)-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's star continues to rise even though he was passed over for the state's recent U.S. Senate vacancy.

A new polls show that the Democratic attorney general is gaining on New York Gov. David Paterson in potential matchups for the 2010 race for governor.

The Siena Research Institute poll indicates that Paterson has just a 2 point lead over Cuomo, 35 percent to 33 percent. Last month, Paterson, who became governor in March after fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace, had a 23-point lead over Cuomo.

"Whether because of the prolonged Senate selection situation or on-going budget issues, voters are less inclined to support Governor Paterson for election today than they were only one month ago," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll. "While the governor's favorability rating remains strong, it is now lower than the attorney general's, who has his highest favorability rating ever."

Cuomo is the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and served as U.S. secretary of housing and urban development under former President Bill Clinton. He has a 64 percent approval rating, which is four points higher than Paterson's approval rating.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, is also considered a potential gubernatorial candidate. He trails Paterson by two points, 44 percent to 42 percent. Last month, Paterson led Giuliani 51 to 38 percent.

The poll also found that President Barack Obama's favorability in the Empire State has hit a new high. The survey found that 81 percent of registered voters in the state have a favorable opinion of the new president.

The poll of 627 voters was conducted Tuesday through Friday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

On Friday, Paterson announced that he had chosen U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand of Upstate New York to replace newly-minted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the state's junior senator.

Throughout the selection process, Cuomo had declined to publicly express interest in the Senate seat.

Gillibrand, a centrist Democrat, served as Cuomo's special counsel when he was housing secretary. She also worked on Hillary Clinton's first Senate campaign in 2000.

"Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been a personal mentor and friend to me since I started my career in public service when I worked for him in HUD as his special counsel," Gillibrand said at the state Capitol announcement in Albany.

Gillibrand's appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton's six-year term.

A poll earlier this month found that New Yorkers preferred Cuomo fill Clinton's seat in the Senate.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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