December 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
6 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. nom deplume

    She is clearly up to the task of being the Jr. Senator from NY.

    I mean, its not like its a hard job or anything. Here is what she has do do: 1. Listen to what Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Uncle Ted tell her to do. 2. Vote.

    December 23, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. a southern bell.

    I AM A WOMAN & I QUALIFY A HECK OF

    A LOT MORE THAN MS. KENNEDY. I

    HAVE VOTED EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    WOMEN HAVE TO GET OFF THE "I AM A WOMEN",

    & THEREFORE I QUALIFY. ISN'T THAT WHAT WE HATED ABOUT

    "THE OLD BOY NETWORK". WE NEED TO QUALIFY, PERIOD !!!!

    December 23, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Buffalo

    Look at all the "experience" in Congress and where it got us. A "housewife" who understands you cannot go to the tap when money is short may be just what we need.

    December 23, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. chuck

    CAROLINE KENNEDY COMES FROM A GOOD STOCK AND IS A SURE BET UNLIKE SARAH PALIN WHO PALS AROUND WITH DRUG ADDICTS.

    December 23, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Caroline, please just go away

    I had never heard of Caroline Kennedy until she endorsed Obama in the primaries, and as a strong Clinton supporter it was incredibly annoying that the media made such a big deal out of it. Then I didn't hear anything about her until she started asking for Clinton's senate seat. What a bunch of bull. This would be the most ridiculous appointment since the democratic leadership and the media appointed Obama the democratic nominee.

    Shame on the democratic leadership for not being able to handle its party's strongest candidate as its nominee. They just wanted the biggest pushover and wuss so they could play them like a puppet... that's why they screwed Hillary over in so many ways just to get Obama elected. Michigan and Florida... the caucus fraud... ganging up on superdelegates to go for Obama... unbelievable.

    Shame on the media too, but that one is even more obvious. Even in the general election.

    Caroline Kennedy is another Obama. Gov. Paterson, as a Hillary supporter during the primaries, please do not fall for hype like your party did! Go with Cuomo, go with anyone but this woman... even Drescher has done more than this joke.

    December 23, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Boston Irish

    I find it very strange that for the first time, Caroline Kennedy came out in support of a candidate and actively campaigned for him. After winning the election, he is ready to appoint a senator from New York to be SOS, and lo and behold Ms. Caroline Kennedy wants the job. Could this possibly be the reason she supported Obama? I'm sure she has supported other presidential candidates, but never publicly like she has this year. Me thinks perhaps she helped convince Obama that Hilary would make the "perfect" SOS. Doesn't feel like getting her hands dirty and actually running for the seat, but from what I can see, she is not above using her last name to try to get the job. Personally, I wouldn't think she would be too proud of the name Kennedy since her Uncle Teddy has not exactly been a good example.

    December 23, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Wow...people are being pretty harsh to a woman who didn't ask to be born into wealth and the spotlight but has nevertheless worked hard to achieve things for herself and others and has spent most of her adult life working for charities and progams to enrich other people's lives.

    With that said, I would love to see Patterson pick Fran Drescher.

    With it looking more and more like Al Franken might win his seat, he is going to need a female counterpart in the senate.

    December 23, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. sg

    I'm so glad I left NY in 2000. It's nothing but a Democrat controlled sewer.

    December 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. rohan

    With the mayor extending his term and now C. Kennedy. Is NY suffering from a Brain Drain?

    December 23, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    Again, if W qualifies to be Prez, she qualifies to be anything she wants to be. Stand, smile, wave and disappear.

    December 23, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. UNEDUCATED AMERICA

    career politians and nepotism in gov't are destroying this country.

    December 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. UNEDUCATED AMERICA

    the best Kennedy's were shot- the rest of them were bought...

    December 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. AJ

    I think the wrong Kennedy went down in that plane...

    December 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Jen

    I hope she makes it regardless!!!

    December 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Jeff in Illinois

    I honestly don't know whether she would make a good Senator or not, but what I do know is, I do NOT trust Gov. Patterson.

    He is (maybe already did), pushing through a tax increase on regular soda, but not diet. That means, the state would be discouraging people from drinking pop with sugar in it, and encouraging pop with a dangerous, cancer-causing, obesity-increasing (through insulin fluctuation), neurotoxin profiting pharmeceutical companies.

    For years, FDA scientists warned about Aspartame, until Searle, Inc. CEO Donald Rumsfeld took things into his own, slimy, connected hands, and pushed through FDA approval.

    Maybe the Governor doesn't know, but something tells me Big Pharma is trying to push their favorite Death-Bringer down the throats of New Yorkers.

    December 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. a southern bell.

    I REMEMBER WHOSE DAUGHTER SHE IS.

    I REMEMBER WHOSE NIECE SHE IS. AND

    IF BOTH OF THEM WERE ALIVE, THEY

    WOULD TELL YOU THAT IF SHE LOVED THIS

    NATION, THIS DEMOCRACY & THEIR DREAMS FOR

    US, SHE WOULD HAVE BOTHERED TO VOTE. SHE WOULD

    HAVE ROLLED UP HER SLEEVES AS THEY DID. THEY BOTH

    WERE AWARE THAT THEIR LIVES WERE IN GREAT PERIL,

    BUT HEY GOT UP & SPOKE. SHE CAN'T GET UP TO VOTE.

    IN THE NATION OF JOHN & BOBBY, YOU EARN IT !!!!

    December 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. tess

    let me get this straight – hillary, married to a president, failed at the job he gave her with health care, botched whitewater, defended adultry in her husband's affair, never lived in new york and had to go find a house then borrow money from dem operative to buy it to be eligible to run for senate seat, served one term all the while planning to run for president! now here comes caroline kennedy who has more experience with philanthropy, good works, fund raising for democratic causes and is actually a new yorker! what am i missing from the hillary group that makes caroline less qualified to run for her seat? o yes – the kennedys back obama!!! that surely makes her unworthy of the seat – get over it clintonistas!!!

    December 23, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Empty suit, empty promises

    Chuck, "Palin pals around with drug addicts"?

    Are you really that dumb? Don't uh, uh, uh, uh bothers as I can guess and probably figure that you uh, uh, uh voted for someone that actually DID DRUGS and his name is uh, uh, Obama.

    Sorry to let facts get in the way.

    Caroline has gone from beloved from ALL circles to hated in many just because she feels it is her birthright to be Senator or maybe because she was all in for Obama.

    You jokesters that still hammer Palin are funny as hell, we had someone who paid every dime for college, ran her own business, was elected Mayor and Governo, wentr against her OWN party, STUFF THAT WE WISH OUR POLITICIANS did as a resume builder and yet she is hammered because she talks funny and doesn't believe in murdering babies as a choice.

    Then on the other hand you have this spoon fed, never worked a day in her life roll over one morning and she wants to be a Senator and she is the greatest thing since the chosen one.........

    She won't answer questions from the press or disclose her finances, but gosh, she is so great and she loves Obambi, gosh, she is swell.

    Bahhhh, sheep, bahhhh.

    December 23, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Jackie in Dallas

    Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg spent much of the last years raising a family, raising millions of dollars for education in New York, and staying low key while her family was young. Her family is grown and she, as a lawyer and Constitutional scholar (with a number of books to her name) has decided to dip her toe in the political waters. Taking over the rest of Senator Clinton's term is no big deal - often, spouses of members of Congress are appointed to complete terms. Some go on to become active in politics, running for office as Elizabeth Dole did, some do not. Why not actually let her try? Some of the others are no more qualified than her - Fran Dressler, for instance is even less qualified.

    As for those who question Caroline's intelligence, well, I don't know how many of you are holders of a law degree from Columbia University and to write or co-write two books on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and four other books. I don't think she lacks smarts!

    December 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Rick

    She's an idiot.

    December 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Tom, Ga

    NY is full of idiots so it really doesn't matter which one replaces the old one.

    December 23, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Libertarian

    I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy personally. But as for her getting appointed I can not disagree more. I don't care which part somoeone is from, when it comes to elected office, that person should have had to put her name on a ballot some where and actually run for something before we appoint them.

    For all of you comparing her to Clinton that is false, since she actually went and put her name on the ballot and ran for the office and the people of New York elected her. But for your first position as an elected official should not come as an appointment. I am sorry but that is not the way things should work. You should have to prove yourself somewhere along the line before you should get such an appointment.

    So no she should not get this position. It is that simple people.

    December 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Libertarian

    Whoever the appoint is there should be one big qualification. They should have had to run and hold at least one elected office.

    December 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Libertarian

    Whomever gets appointed should have at the very least put their name on the ballot and have run for office at least once in their life. And since Ms. Kennedy has not done that she should not get this appointment.

    December 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Baze

    Oh heck, just make her a Senator. There are tons of Congressmen that don't do jack, so why not??

    December 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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