You Can't Always Go Home

Even in Harlem, David Paterson is losing his grip:

Days after his elevation, Mr. Paterson was welcomed at a rally in Harlem, which he had represented for years in the State Senate, with standing ovations and cries of, "We love you, David."

The disappointment expressed by some black voters in interviews appears distinct from the more dominant critique of Mr. Paterson as ineffective and lacking in focus. They cited Mr. Paterson's efforts to remake himself as a moderate, fiscally conservative politician, a break from his beginnings as a liberal Democrat and defender of social programs.

As a result, the enthusiasm many African-Americans once felt has evaporated.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, fewer than half of black voters in the state approve of how the governor is handling his job, down from two-thirds last summer, reflecting a broader decline among his core constituencies, including Democrats and New York City voters.

"To be below 50 percent among any group is bad," said Maurice Carroll, director of the university's polling institute. "But there's no way a black governor can get re-elected when he's below 50 percent among black voters. That's desperation time."

That 50 percent figure is incredible. I think Blago was doing better than that among black folks. One thing missing from this otherwise fine story, is some reporting on Paterson's political chops. I know that times are rough, but that's the playing field. I still wonder how good Paterson is at navigating it.