January 26th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
8 months ago

Poll: Caroline Kennedy to blame for Clinton replacement process

New York Gov. David Paterson announced his pick of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
New York Gov. David Paterson announced his pick of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

(CNN) - More than three times as many New Yorkers in a new poll blame Caroline Kennedy and her team for the messy process surrounding the search for Hillary Clinton’s Senate replacement than fault the state’s governor, David Paterson - although, on balance, his final selection meets with their approval.

Forty-nine percent of voters surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday said Kennedy and her advisers were to blame, to 15 percent who pointed to Paterson. Twelve percent blame both, and 24 percent are undecided.

Overall, the state’s voters approve of Paterson’s selection of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, backing the pick 46 to 30 percent, with 24 percent undecided. That margin is higher upstate, where the choice of the Albany-born Gillibrand draws the approval of 55 percent of the region’s voters to 25 percent who disapprove. In New York City, that margin is far smaller: there, the conservative Democrat draws the approval of 41 percent to 34 percent who disapprove. But in the state’s suburbs, her edge falls within the survey’s 3 point margin of error: 35 percent approve, 32 percent do not.

The mother of two draws higher support from men than women in the survey: Women approve of her selection by a 44 to 31 percent margin, while men back her by 19 points, 48 to 29 percent. And the Democrat draws far more support from Republicans than she does from members of her own party — GOP voters approve of her selection by a 56 to 27 percent margin. Among Democrats, Gillibrand is backed by 41 percent to 35 percent who disapprove. Forty-nine percent of independent voters support her, to 21 percent who do not.

New Yorkers may approve of Paterson’s pick, but they’re not as happy about the path he followed to get there: 44 percent approve of his decision-making process, with 42 percent disapproving. Again, Republicans are happier about the situation than Democrats: GOP voters approve 52 to 39 percent, while Democrats are nearly evenly split, 42 to 43 percent.

Gillibrand may need that crossover support when she runs for re-election: her pro-gun stands and backing by the National Rifle Association mean 36 percent of New York’s voters, including half the state’s Democrats are less likely to support her, while only 17 percent are more likely to vote for her. Forty-one percent say it won’t affect their vote.

The Quinnipiac University survey of 1,047 New York State registered voters was conducted January 23-25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (280 Responses)
  1. Moderates Unite!

    I'm glad we have the nice folks at Quinnipiac University to waste their time taking a meaningless poll on who the citizenry of New York should blame for such and such...thanks for this valuable piece of information CNN.

    It should surprise no one that the libs in NYC would not approve of KG as much as the folks upstate do...Quinnipiac should do a survey on how many people in NYC think that the rest of the USA revolves around them.

    January 26, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. linda from South Dakota

    oh for goodness sake,, leave it alone,, shes has a life outside politics,,, geeezzz,,,

    January 26, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. BB

    Those people are idiots. The blame for any problems lie directly on the shoulders of the Governor. He's the one with the responsibility and the authority and any blame there might be.

    January 26, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Barbara Campbell

    What messy process? CNN is again making a mountain of a molehill. As soon as Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State, Governor Paterson appointed his choice, Ms. Gillibrand.

    January 26, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. flo

    Leave Caroline alone! We owe her a minimum of that.

    January 26, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. Sue, NY

    How can anyone say that when it was Patterson's office that was trashing her AFTER she removed her name from consideration.
    Whether or not he chose her is his decision....but it was very unprofessional as to how he handled it.

    January 26, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Shari, NY

    Let's move on! There's work to be done and no time for political post mortems.

    January 26, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Betty in upstate NY

    I am happy with his choice because she is from upstate and is focused on the whole state not just downstate. Although I am not too happy she has shown up in NYC first. However if she does what she says she will do and visit all of upstate and hear our issues I won't hold it against her. I still believe Caroline will be offered a less high profile position by Paterson to get her started in Politics.

    January 26, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    A pro-gun ownership stance will get my support, upstate NY needs a leader like this. Now if she goes to the Senate with a plan for spending reduction as her first order of business, then she will be receiving a lot of support for re-election.
    Time for real tax relief, reduce spending means lower taxes for all.

    January 26, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. GaVoter

    New Yorkers are what we call "progressive" idiots..

    January 26, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Ray Fisher

    It doesn't really matter now does it??? One senator with a ruined economy doesn't amount to a hill of beans. It seems we are daily deluged with inane news stories concerning things much inflated and overemphasized to make them nauseating. The governor followed the law and appointed a new senator, period, end of story.

    January 26, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. RufusVonDufus

    Based on the comments I heard emanating from the governor's office, I would say they were more to blame than anyone else. You New Yorkers must be a bunch of dimwits based on the people you keep sending to office. You all are way to full of yourselves.

    January 26, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Truth Be Told

    blame caroline for paterson's ineptness? only in new york!

    January 26, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Obama Fan

    Gilliabrand seems like a fine public servant, and may prove to be a good choice. Though she is a hard worker, I don't really know enough about her policies yet to give her a thumbs up. But I disagree with her on gun control. That may be a deal breaker for me, come election time.

    January 26, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. NYC

    Its obvious that many people didn’t approved of her because she is a Kennedy . At the end of the day the choose was made by the David Paterson ,.So I don't see why is she to be blame

    January 26, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Island girl

    Young, attractive, virtually unknown, mother of young children with a family of avid hunters. She seems like a more polished version of Palin falling somewhere in the middle of the two parties.

    January 26, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Caroline Kennedy turned this into a circus, with her as the head clown. Her behavior throughout shows she clearly wasn't US Senate material. Her lack of speaking ability actually makes Palin look good. Too bad for the uberliberals that Gillibrand actually happens to support the Second Amendment. In many ways she's actually the anti-Kennedy. Good pick Paterson.

    January 26, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Richard

    These poll results are yet another proof of the arrogance and ineptitude of mainstream media people and their equally inept pundits. It is perplexing to me how these camera-happy talking heads are consistently blaming Gov Paterson for a mess Caroline Kennedy herself created.

    January 26, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Bob in Pa

    It wasn't just Caroline Kennedy and her teams fault. It was also the reporters, talk shows, and other politicians who insisted on talking about it. They looked at the process as an elections and that national polls should say who was selected. Bottom line was, It was the Governor's s decision alone to make, everyone else should have stayed out of it.

    January 26, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Putin still invading Alaskan airspace between Palin's ears

    So does the press now feel as though they've covered enough of this story for ratings?

    January 26, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Dianne

    This will be much like the Palin roll-out of an "unknown". Those 'undecided' numbers are very high, and as she becomes known, her unfavorables will rise significantly.

    She voted for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
    She voted against TARP.
    She has connections to Alphonse D'Amato a Lobbyist for AIG & Freddie Mac & was front & center stage on Friday.
    She is pro-gun & has endorsement of the NRA.

    This woman is not a Democrat, she's a DINO (Democrat in name only).

    January 26, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Scott Tucson

    WHAT! This isn't being blamed on Bush? How about that!

    January 26, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Brooke

    PLEASE stop saying she is from/represents UPSTATE NY.... she is from the 20th Congressional District – which is about as Upstate NY as Miami FL

    "The 20th Congressional District of New York is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in eastern New York. It includes all or parts of Columbia, Dutchess, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties. It includes the cities of Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs. This largely rural district stretches to include parts of the Adirondacks, Catskills and Hudson Valley."

    January 26, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Dianne

    Also, for those who don't realize, the super-star on stage on Friday, Alphonse D'Amato, former long-time Republican US Senator from NY, is a lobbyist for AIG & Freddie Mac who worked on John McCain's 2008 Presidential Campaign.

    January 26, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Danny, OH

    New Yorkers... Just Shut UP

    January 26, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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