Perhaps the only thing more troubling to New York voters than the thought of Gov. David Paterson's (D) re-election campaign is the White House's reported attempt to thwart it. 

More than 60 percent of registered N.Y. voters told Marist in a poll released on Thursday that they do not want Paterson to run again in 2010. But about the same number of voters -- even a majority of Democrats -- also said the White House had no business suggesting the incumbent step aside.

It is a truly perplexing set of numbers for Democrats, who fear Paterson's unpopularity could lose them the gubernatorial election next year. Although party members and the president probably thought their back-channel recommendation to Paterson last week was a smart move, the strategy has since backfired, and the White House has taken considerable heat for what many believe is excessive meddling in state affairs.

But Democrats' fears are not totally unfounded. Marist also revealed in Thursday's poll that more than 40 percent of voters believed the mere mention of Paterson's name on the ticket could affect the state's down-ballot contests. That feeling is also most pronounced among Democrats.