January 26th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
10 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. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Another pitbull with lipstick. But can she field dress a beaver?
    Opps, isn't that the State Animal of New York?

    January 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    And just exactly was she "to blame?" If you want the job, you can sit quietly in the corner or throw your hat in the ring. The Governor couldn't decide to fish or cut bait. There is a pool a candidates; chose one!

    January 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Emil, Franklin, TN

    Why the discussion of how things were 'handled'?

    Caroline Kennedy had no claim on the seat; no experience to merit apppointment. Being a nice person from a political family is not enough.

    January 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Kathleen Kenney

    Kirsten Gillibrand was a wise choice. She knows the issues and has the spirit, energy and concern to do a great job for the people of NY.
    But I do not like her stand on gun control and hope that she remembers she represents the wishes of the people of NY and not her own when she votes on gun control related issues.
    Caroline Kennedy should now show good will and gain experience by offering to help Gillibrand, Chuck Shumer and other NY politicos. That's how to start her political journey.

    January 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. paula Wesley

    Patterson is a nut case with no leadership skills. This is all his fault. He led her to believe that she was the choice, then just snatched it away. How shoching and disrectful. He is a dufus.

    January 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Brad

    As a New Yorker, I'm very please Kennedy withdrew consideration. I'm not sold on Kirsten Gillibrand yet, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

    January 26, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Barb

    The decision's made. If they're happy with the results, why do they need to blame anyone? Move on.

    January 26, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. uv777bk

    So, problems in her personal life, whatever they may be, don't concern anyone? The public need to understand that they don't control this.

    January 26, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Lisa

    Nobody looks good in this one, but I agree that Kennedy is the one whose actions were the worst. In attempting to claim what she saw as her rightful patrimony, she embodies the worst of our political and economic systems – that overweening sense of entitlement that brought us both George W. Bush and huge Wall Street bonuses. Paterson can't help that he is incompetent, and Gillibrand is what she is (a gun-toting homophobe). So it is Kennedy who is the most offensive of this lot.

    January 26, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Lauren

    I simply can not resist. I have to do this,,,,,,,,

    In reply to all of you Sarah Palin slammers, and for everyone who simpy HATES to see Sarahs name in the news.

    Caroline Kennedy,,,, will you please just go away. Go back toy our privledged life. Go back to Camelot, just go away. The truth about you is out, if you have to EARN it, you do not want it. You only want what is handed to you on a silver platter. Caroline,, just go away.

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

    I like Caroline Kennedy. She has used her name to do great things here downstate–especially fundraising for NYC schools. However, she did not do a good job selling herself to all New Yorkers. Hillary got a great start on being senator because of her husband. Yet, she visited every county in New York State and knew the issues affecting NYS like the back of her hand. Thus, easily trounced Lazio in the 2000 senate election. That's the thing with Hillary, she's always prepared for whatever job she tries out for–even if she got a head start (her husband's reputation). She always is fully aware of the issues and can argue with them at the drop of a hat.

    Kennedy should have treated this appointed position as a campaign; unfortunately, she's too private of a person and that hampered her ability to show her skills. I can't believe she had a big part in the Obama campaign b/c that campaign was well-thought out and on- message. Caroline's campaign on the other hand seemed an afterthought.

    With this year's political message being "change" and "kick the bums out," Caroline should have been more open to the press and public in order to gain confidence so as not to seem as "entitled." She should have been upstate pronto. Talked to everyone who would listen to her to show her awareness of upstate and downstate issues–not just to Sharpton and downstate people because upstate New Yorkers are tired of being ignored especially since their manufacturing base/economy crumbled 30 years ago. They deserve representation, too.

    Furthermore, I like Patterson's choice because even as a NYC person I believe in the Second Amendment. I do think if the government is less likely to become fascist if the citizenry is armed; but I think the gun-control people do have a point–average citizens do not need AK-47s. Hunting guns and handguns are reasonable. In addition, Patterson had to choose an upstate person because he will be up for election in 2010 and has a black legislator originally representing Harlem, he will have a hard time convincing moderate/conservative (white) upstaters to vote for him as governor especially since he became governor after the Spitzer debacle. I think we NYC/Westchester/ LI people need to chill out and allow the upstaters a chance to have someone who represents them in the Senate because other than money for public schools, we here in NYC are sometimes overrepresented.

    January 26, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    When it comes to politics, there is always "someone else" that can be blamed for the results. The Governor made his choice--Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand--she is experienced--and well connected. Any coments or troll polls after the fact is a moot point---live with it.

    January 26, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. Bubba

    Sounds like a slanted poll to me. What, do they think she was going to appoint herself? She basically just said "Hey, I'm willing and I have high visibility.'
    Non-issue now anyway. Let's get back to reporting on Blago's hair.

    January 26, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Kay

    How stupid. Caroline Kennedy is not to blame.

    January 26, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Elvis

    The rest of the country doesn't always care what New Yorkers are feeling. Take a poll to figure out who to blame that sentiment on.

    January 26, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Lisa in Florida

    I heard that Bill and Hillary may have had something to do with Caroline not getting the appointment. Remember, they don't get mad, they get even. They were none to happy when she and Teddy endorsed President Obama in the primaries. But oh, how they loved riding on that yacht back in the 90's with Teddy, Caroline and Jackie O! Love'em or hate'em, those Clinton's have politics running through their veins!!!

    January 26, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. rob

    who cares. Now the idiot Paterson has stuck NY'ers with a Dem . Sarah Palin wanna be . She's pro rifle–anti -gay .She's one of Palin's real Americans. the ones we can so do without

    January 26, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Lisa in Florida

    I heard that Bill and Hillary may have had something to do with Caroline not getting the appointment. Remember, they don't get mad, they get even. They were none to happy when she and Teddy endorsed President Obama in the primaries. But oh, how they loved riding on that yacht back in the 90's with Teddy, Caroline and Jackie O! Love'em or hate'em, those Clinton's have politics running through their veins!!!

    January 26, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. C

    Ha! Who'd you poll the 50% of NYrs eligble to vote but so apathetic they don't or just enough of the 50% who are likely party hacks downstate? Paterson is done – no spin will save him. No one blames Caroline – she was a courageous voice on behalf of change and good works in NYC.

    "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."

    January 26, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Florence Bowie

    As an outside observer of the process, I was very disappointed by the way the Press (CNN & others) reported comments supposedly made by the Governor regarding Caroline Kennedy's quest for this position.

    Caroline Kennedy was not treated with the respect and civility that she deserves. She has great capability and credential.

    Florence Bowie

    January 26, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Franky

    She is interesting. Let's see what happens.

    January 26, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. C

    "New Yorkers may approve of Paterson’s pick, but they’re not as happy about the path he followed to get there ..."

    Duh, no kidding – indecisive, indecisive, indecisive. Should have been courageously quick and steadfast in the face of expectant criticsms, regardless of the pick.

    January 26, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Joyce Becker

    I think Caroline Kennedy is a fine woman, but she did nothing to show that she was qualified to be Senator other than her Kennedy name, she bungled her chances badly especially when she went upstate on her tour. Her interviews went badly also. It would have been wrong for Paterson to appoint her, he made a better choice with Gillibrand.

    January 26, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Mari

    The problem with Caroline Kennedy is that she did not have any "real life" experience. She has lived a very private life, and even though charity work and the campaign help she gave Obama are worthwhile, it is not every-day-work.

    If find it VERY suspicious and curious that Ms. Kennedy abruptly pulled out!

    January 26, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Chipster

    CNN: why are you still obsessed with this. Does this poll prove anything? Achieve anything? Mean anything at all?

    NO! It just makes CNN look like obsessed imbeciles.

    January 26, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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