January 26th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
4 years 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. Baze

    Blah blah... The public has no idea what they're talking about. They just point blame at whoever the media tells them to. And as far as Caroline Kennedy, if she truly wants to be in politics, then she needs to cut her teeth in the trenches and stop depending on her name

    January 26, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Ken

    Why are they "blaming" anyone? Was Caroline Kennedy entitled to the vacated seat?

    Maybe, just maybe, she lost out because she isn't qualified to hold this office.

    Maybe meritocracy ruled.

    January 26, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. maryland

    Sorry, was there a major "problem" with the process? What kind of loaded question, and therefore "journalism" is that?
    Slow Days at CNN and in NY huh?

    January 26, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Art

    I didn't think it possible, but finally something not blamed on Bush.

    January 26, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Paul Wyss

    Hey, get a grip. Who cares. Kennedy did not want the job and we now have a new senator. Don't we have anything else to do in time of crisis than conducting such stupid surveys. That money could hacve boosted the economy!!

    January 26, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Mercedes

    Very strange this whole Patterson/Kennedy saga. I do believe that the dirty political payback of the Clintons were behind this. Just my opinion which I am fully entitle to give. Its a shame that people have put down Caroline Kennedy as if she was some bimbo with no education. Just so you know she may have much of skills to provide to any state senate seat than half of the morons in that seat. If you haven't notice we are as a country a total mess and congress and the senate are also to blame. So don't under estimate what Caroline Kennedy could offer. Now for this woman from "Western New York State" we will have to digest her until the people of the state vote if they want her there in the next election.

    January 26, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Millie Gee

    Funny....all the facts around this issue are not fully known. Yet still the majority blame Caroline Kennedy. Gov. Paterson's decision-making process was woefully lacking. Sen. Schumer says Ms. Gillibrand will change her views to be in alignment with his, I suppose. Interesting.

    January 26, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Charley

    Kirsten "Little Hillary" Gillibrand will be a great Senator. As with most smart serious women her positions will evolve – she is not a narrow minded right-wing zealot on gun control. She has represented some of the most beautiful rural financially depressed places in the country(the ADirondacks and the Hudson Valley) and won in an over-whelmingly blood red district. She supports GAY marriage and stem cell research – and is disarming in her warmth and brains when approached by critics. We New Yorkers are rooting for her. Let's get on with it – enough with Caroline – sweet or otherwise.

    January 26, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Not surprising.
    There sure was an appearance of Caroline Kennedy throwing her support to Obama in the primary and an apparent attempt of "payback" by Obama by encouraging, and supporting her bid to be a Senator. Obviously we don't know the real story but there is stench all around.

    January 26, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Desire

    It was so disappointing to see Caroline Kennedy dropped out at the last minute. I respect her rights to do whatever she wants but in life if you know that you don't have the gut to do something don't even bother to start it and gave hope to so many of your fans and let them done when the expect so much from you. I can also understand that we all have our own and personal reasons and we should respect them. Please Caroline next time just stay out of politics because you are not cut for that and remenber politics is not for weak. We will keep the image of your dad, the greatest.
    Please go back to do what you do best work in the shadow. We will always love you because of your dad and you actual uncle.

    January 26, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. RealityKing

    Nope, no experience here..

    January 26, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. AndyL

    The Kennedy dynasty is finally over, now there is change I can beleive in.

    January 26, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Liz in Seattle

    Elvis: In this case, we should care what NYers are feeling, because she's their senator and they are the ones who will be asked to re-elect her. Sheesh.

    January 26, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Gail Hickey

    The fact that Caroline Kennedy and Co. didn't choose Hillary Clinton for the Vice- president position, upset many New Yorkers.
    They grew rather indifferent towards her when it came to the vacant senate seat.

    January 26, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Bob from Kentucky

    Maybe Paterson should just switch parties.

    January 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. kc

    who cares?

    January 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Carol

    Ok, will this FINALLY get Sarah to shut up?

    January 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Dave

    What was so "messy" about the process? It sounds to me like it worked exactly like it was supposed to. The press is the only one making a big drama about all of this.


    January 26, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Margie

    New Yorkers you're disgusting looking to blame Caroline, no wonder she withdrew. She's had enough hate mongering in her family, don't ya think.

    January 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Donny

    WHAT might someone blame Kennedy for? Nothing happened here, but a selection process. Some folks just need to whine about something. If this is all there is to whine about, some folks are very uninformed.

    January 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Monrob

    I am happy she didn't get it. She will never be able to fill Hillary's shoes. And Barack will never be as good as Hillary!

    January 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Boston Irish

    JL, Why respond if you feel it's ridiculous??

    Elvis, do New Yorkers care how you feel?

    January 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. John

    THANK YOU Paterson, finally an UP-STATER in a position of power. Whenever NY is discussed, its ALWAYS about the City. Finally we get a selection from up-state to match Schumer (a down-stater). I'm sure Caroline would have been nice (as all the senator picks from the City have been) but lets face it, she would get a nose bleed if she had to cross the Tappenzee

    January 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Erich Dallas

    Scott in Tucson,

    You know this is Bush's fault. Luckily though Obama is here and will fix everything.

    January 26, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Andrew

    I'm with JL, and i'm a New Yorker. It's pretty stupid, in my opinion, to waste time and money on a "who is to blame?" poll like that.

    January 26, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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