January 26th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
7 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. Greg

    I don't understand how you blame Kennedy for the mistakes her advisers did i mean why do a poll in New York where people don't even like Kennedy's but as you know this my own opinon i just don't understand why we can't give a very honest person espically a woman like Caroline Kennedy a chance to become a senator of New York I also think that Gov. Paterson is lying about not giving a signal to Kennedy to quit he the one that probably drove her to quit the race i don't know what he has aganist her but if your thinking that i don't like who Gov. Paterson to replace Hilary Clinton then your wrong i have nothing against Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand i think that she would make a good senator best wishes to her and to her family

    January 26, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Rumsfeld

    Ms. Kennedy lacked articulation and a grasp of issues which should be a requirement of anyone holding a state position with such responsibility. It does matter and considering the lack of leadership we have endured for the past eight years, it is not an unreasonable expectation of New Yorkers and Americans in general.

    Her name should not buy her the position.

    It does matter and considering the lack of leadership we have endured for the past eight years, it is not an unreasonable expectation of New Yorkers and Americans in general.

    I applaud the choice of Gillibrand.

    January 26, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. SC Dem

    There is only one person to blame.. Carolina Kennedy! She didn't deserve Mrs. Clinton seat. She supported Obama during the primaries. I have one question... Don't she live in NY? Back stabber!

    January 26, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Dave

    Who people blame in a pole one day for a decision that was not made? This is coverage? I'd rather see the report that investigates it.

    January 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. hello

    i still wonder why he chose an unknow in these troubled times, why didn't he use good judgement and choose someone that was better known and qualified, i think he made a bad choice.

    January 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. E.J. Morvey FL

    I'm VERY disappointed in Paterson's pick of Gillibrand. She is in NO WAY a Democrat.

    January 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Joseph IRAQ WAR VET

    I hope that the Obama administration treats Paterson with the same amount of disrespect as he treated Kennedy.

    January 26, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Texas Pete

    All I can say is that Patterson should have made his decision a long time ago. He dragged this thing out and now has himself to blame. I think Caroline Kennedy was mishandled and I think Gov, Patterson made a big mistake and looks like a procrastinator. Two Democratic governors have really been poster children for a special election.

    Patterson's choice of a "blue dog" Democrat will really help President Obama push through his program. I will rest my judgement for now, but the new Senator sure smells like a Republican in Democratic clothing. In Texas the Republicans would call her a RINO (Republican in Name Only). In New York call her a DINO (Democrat in Name Only).

    Thank you Gov. Patterson. With friends like you, who needs enemies.

    January 26, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. NY Dem

    Good chose Gov. Paterson. Thanks for going against the political establishment! Go Hillary!

    January 26, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Charles Douglas Lemay

    I loved Caroline and John-John in the White House.

    But that was almost fifty years ago.

    Poor Caroline was like a minor leaguer who got a chance to go to
    The Bigs, and couldn't even handle a routine pop fly.

    Her bad, Hillary's glad.

    January 26, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. Tom Swift, Shopton

    `

    Well, you know, Caroline wanted this job, you know, sooooo bad, you know.

    I am, you know, sure that she will, ummmmm, run for the seat when it, you know, comes up next year.

    You know?

    `

    January 26, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Sarta

    Peterson to blame. Carole will be rewarded from Obama govt or from the state or uncle Ted or from the governor -Deval. If not, she will head a commission for arts.

    January 26, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. JerryD

    Waiting for the 2010 free-for-all Gillibrand will go. For those of us who believe Kennedy will bring a new national focus to our state , we cannot wait. Neither can Andrew Cuomo.

    January 26, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Obama 2.0

    I blame the fact that it is not an election of the people rather an apointment by one person.

    January 26, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    well, ya know...it could..ya know...be.. well... ya know ..true......ya know

    January 26, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Upstate

    This goes to show why "New Yorkers" do not like the new senator- Because she is from Upstate. Those Downstates have held up there noises to upstate.

    For those that don't know: Upstate has always had a "Red Streak", has always like there (our) guns, and has always thought separately from the Downstate Leftists.

    This Senator is truly a Upstate Senator- which is good because many of our Senators, including our current one, have tended to be Downstaters. But thats why they do not like this new one.

    January 26, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Who cares?

    January 26, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Achai Kamau

    Absurd.

    January 26, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    There was no doubt that Hillary would be confirmed.......the Governor could have named the replacement much sooner and put an end to the circus before it began. Instead, he left them twisting in the wind. His fault in my view.

    January 26, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Patterson is more concerned about being re-elected than his state. Word of advice to the Gov. YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU SOW. Bet you will have some resistence in the populated areas that you think are save.

    January 26, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. raycar

    Do the people in New York know how ridiculous you sound? How can you blame someone for entering her name into the political process for consideration (didn't all the candidates?) when that is exactly what the Governor and the process itself requires in order to make the best choice possible. Now you are blaming someone. For what, following the process laid down by our system of government. As usual New York and the press are good comic relief (Lot of guts for a Californian huh). Thanks for starting my day off with a chuckle. – raycar – San Jose, CA

    January 26, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Kathy

    I wish Quiinipiac had called me! I am livid that this whack job governor chose someone backed by the NRA to represent NY. I'm a proud liberal democrat who worked hard to get Obama elected who will be working very hard for almost anyone who oppose Gillibrand in 2010, even if it means backing Peter King. Hopefully it will be Carolyn McCarthy or Andrew Cuomo.

    I wanted Caroline Kennedy & think Patterson blew it. There were so many other qualified candidates, I just can't accept this one. There are way too many guns in NY – between illegal ones in NYC and yahoos running around with guns in the woods upstate. Kirsten Gillibrand just doesn't get it.

    January 26, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Amie

    Caroline has been a private citizen most of her life. Frankly, I don't think her political acumen was developed enough. In other words, she was just not ready for the position.

    January 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Evolve and Learn

    Dianne: If Obama can move to the right to win a presidential election; Gillibrand can surely move to the left to win a senate seat. No?

    January 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    The blame game. Hillary Clinton cannot be replaced and that's the core issue. New Yorkers are now represented by who?????

    January 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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