December 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

New Yorkers split on Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy looked on as her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, made an appearance at the Democratic convention in August of this year.
Caroline Kennedy looked on as her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, made an appearance at the Democratic convention in August of this year.

(CNN) - A new poll suggests New Yorkers are split on whether Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be a U.S. Senator - but they still expect their state's governor will name her to replace Hillary Clinton when the secretary of state-designate steps down from her Senate seat.

Forty percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released today say that Kennedy is qualified to serve as a senator, with 41 percent saying no. The 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy is one of a dozen or so hoping to fill the seat being vacated by Clinton when she leaves to take her post in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.

But Kennedy is drawing more scrutiny than the other Senate hopefuls because she's a member of one of the country's most famous political families, because she's never run for office, and because not much is well known about where she stands on crucial political issues and priorities.

The poll also indicates that by a 48 percent to 25 percent margin, New Yorkers think Gov. David Paterson will name Kennedy to the seat. Kennedy and her allies have launched a strong lobbying effort to persuade Paterson that she's qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Asked their choice, 33 percent of those polled say Paterson should name Kennedy, with 29 percent backing New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Another four percent support congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand. Twenty-four percent want someone else and 10 percent are undecided.

Whomever Paterson names to the seat will have to run in a special election in November 2010 - and if they win that contest, will have to run again in 2012 when Clinton's current senate term ends.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted December 17-21, with 834 registered New York State voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • Polls
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. RinFL

    Love or hate Hillary the one thing that no one can deny is that she is one sharp minded person. Not living in NY state I could really care less but I would think that there are better choices that could be made. If the people are looking for a shrewd political mind to represent them Ms. Kennedy is probably not the right choice.

    December 23, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Ray Fisher

    Caroline should reveal everything about herself in the interest of good government, if not, then don't accept the offer. America must stop these arrgant politicians from taking advantage. Just put up or shut up!!!

    December 23, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. AJ

    The sense of entitlement shown by Caroline Kennedy leaves me dumfounded. She has done nothing in her life to merit being appointed to the Senate but believes she is qualified because she is a Kennedy. Pathetic. I hope Patterson gives this seat to someone more deserving.

    December 23, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Kristy

    I find it absurd, that when Hillary was running for office, the media kept saying that "We shouldn't have Legacy's". Too many Clinton's and Bushes. Hillary Clinton was involved in politics, even though she was the wife of Bill in office, and she actually got elected, wasn't given a senate seat because of her name. It looks like quid pro quo for Caroline Kennedy to be given the seat when she endorsed Obama. I do predict that Caroline Kennedy will get the senate seat, and I also predict that she will be the first female president in 8 years. The Kennedy's want thier legacy.

    December 23, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Mike

    Amazing that she is running a campaign to win a seat that will be appointed by the governor. She can't win a general election, but like a true Kennedy can recognize a fast way to power. The only Kennedy that earned his spot on his own was JFK, the rest are still catching a free ride on his coattails. Amazing if New Yorkers will be so gullible as to put pressure on the governor to appoint a neophite to office.

    December 23, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    This is a no-brainer (sorry, Ted). She is simply not qualified, so, ere go, Patterson will select her.

    December 23, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Caroline needs to prove that she is not a Palin clone by answering tough questions from the news media. She must demonstrate that she is as smart and tough as Hillary. The Kennedy brand is nothing if you didn't inherit the political genes or temperament.

    December 23, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. NEL E BELL

    I AM MARRIED TO A KENNEDY, HOWEVER, THE SIDE OF THE FAMILY THAT WERE NOT DOUBLE CROSSERS THEY WERE HONEST HORSE THIEVES AND THEY ADMITTED IT. ANYWAY, I LOVE JFK AS A TEENAGER AND MY HOPES FOR CAROLYN IS SHE STAYS ON THE SIDELINES WE DON'T NEED A CELEBRITY, RATHER WE IN NEW YORK DESERVE A HARD WORKING DYNAMIC PERSON THAT IS HONEST AND WILL ADVANCE OUR INTERESTS., SO CAROLYN PLEASE BE THE POWER BEHIND THE THRONE AND KEEP YOUR WONDERFUL FAMILY NOT TED'S OUT OF THE HOG TROFF.

    December 23, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. EVERYMAN

    What's next? Oprah for President?

    December 23, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. TR

    I think Ms. Kennedy is simply qualified and the press ought not be overly critical about her credentials... I'm pretty sure she'll make a good Senator and Hillary will be pleased to have her as successor...

    December 23, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Larry in Houston

    I don't know, I still think she will be O.K. as a senator that took Hillary's seat.....But this is what bothers me : I've heard on the News that she has not Voted in YEARS !! Now what do you think of that ?

    It sort of sends a message here.......If you didn't even "bother" to vote in the past, it means that you didn't care who was "in", or who was "out"........and it's like saying that you don't about politics, so to speak......

    So, NOW, she wants to be a senator ?? So, now this means : I am Finally "interested" in Politics, NOW ??

    Something doesn't sound right, or smell right, with this...

    Larry C.
    Houston, Texas

    December 23, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Laverne

    I wouldn't mind Caroline being appointed for the short term to see what she's got. If she does not serve the people of NY well over the next 20 months, she probably would not win the re-election anyways. Maybe some will be pleasantly surprised!

    December 23, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Mickie

    Since I don't live in NY my vote or opinion would not count anyway. What I would like to know is what qualifications were required of other people elected to the senate? I know of some who never held public office (including Hillary) but that does not mean they were not qualified and did a good job. Just my opinion.

    December 23, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Mari

    Good grief..... Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of a slain president, and part of a family that has served our Nation for generations! They have lost three sons. I admire and respect them all.

    However, Caroline Kennedy needs to start from the bottom up. IF she is serious about getting into Congress, then she should run for the City Council, then Congresswoman, then the Senate. Allowing the people of New York to choose whom they would like to serve them.

    December 23, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. KJL

    Governor Paterson won't be influenced by the Kennedy name. He will try to make the best choice, and the people can confirm or deny it in the next election.

    December 23, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. rachel

    hmm, she hasn't bothered to vote until recently why?

    December 23, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Hypocracy has no bounds

    Anyone who spoke against qualifications of Palin and supports her for this seat should have thier head examine.

    December 23, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. A Canuck

    Caroline Kennedy is intelligent, honest and has a good heart......there are times when that is sufficient. This is one of them,

    December 23, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Phoenix

    I love how we are showing our hypocrisy about name legacies. Our current president is a legacy baby if I've ever seen one. I'm sure the Clinton name will not hurt Chelsea wherever she is. The list goes on. I don't know anything about C. Kennedy, but I am sick of us harping about name recognition when that's what our country is built on. That's why I say as a black American, meritocracy is a bunch of bull.

    December 23, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. April

    As great as she was for the Obama campaign, she should not "inherit" Hillary's seat. She should get the seat the old fashioned way, by running for it.

    December 23, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. JustBob

    "New Yorkers are split on whether Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be a U.S. Senator"...Give her a break, we just elected a Senator without experience to the Presidency: Caroline in '12!

    December 23, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. Dianne

    Go Caroline! You'll make a wonderful Senator.

    Funny to see so many in a "panic" since you've announced an interest. They all know you'd be unbeatable in a General Election.

    December 23, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. lovable liberal

    I'm a big fan of Ted, but I don't believe that dynasties are good for democracy.

    December 23, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Sharon, MN

    I think the gov should pick someone else and let Caroline campaign for two years. If she's got the right stuff she'll win in 2010.

    December 23, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Angie Mason

    I think if Caroline Kennedy is anything like the rest of the Kennedys, you have nothing to worry about. She will fight with everything she has for the voters of New York. I wished we in Utah would have someone to fight for us instead of their own self interests.

    December 23, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
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