More than a third of the 1,528 registered state voters polled between March 16 and March 18 said Paterson would restore trust in state government following revelations that former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was involved with prostitutes, while 75 percent said he will govern effectively."Gov. David Paterson begins [his term] with good wishes. By big margins, New Yorkers think he'll restore public trust Ð boy, can Albany use that Ð and be able to govern effectively," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.Only 3 percent of those polled had an unfavorable view of Paterson, the state's first black governor, while 46 percent had a favorable opinion and 51 percent did not know enough about him to form an opinion.Carroll said Paterson's numbers "shifted slightly" downward on the last day of the poll, when the governor disclosed at a news conference that he and his wife had extra-marital affairs.The same poll also found New Yorkers were split on whether former Gov. Eliot Spitzer should be charged with a crime after it was revealed that he had been involved with prostitutes. Some 48 percent said he should face charges while 40 percent believed resigning was punishment enough. They agreed with Spitzer's decision to step down by an 81-15 percent margin.The resignation made way for Paterson, the lieutenant governor under Spitzer, to become governor, according to the rules of succession in the state constitution.Those polled preferred that process to holding a special election, with 70 percent saying they favored the current succession procedure and 21 percent who said they would have rather had a special election to fill the position.Despite the support Paterson received in the poll, he came in second when respondents were asked who they would like to see elected governor in 2010.Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the four-person field with 29 percent, followed by Paterson at 27 percent and 25 percent for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo received 11 percent.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
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