January 26th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
11 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. Jane

    Gillibrand is a great choice. I admire the Gov for having the guts to select someone not politically tainted. Kudos to you, Sir. I am tired of the Kennedys, Coumos, and Clintons thinking that someone should be annointed to the position because of their family name or due to the fact it's what "they" want. If she doesn't do a great job (I think she will) the voters will elect someone else to the position. Time to do whats right not what's popular.

    January 26, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Leah

    Most New Yorkers are offended by Kennedy's belief that this seat was her rightful patrimony. Paterson, by contrast, can't help that he's incompetent.

    January 26, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. ANAG LOS ANGELES, CA

    @ truth be told

    i concur!!

    January 26, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Bill / California

    How was this situation a mess? The governor did his duty and appointed someone who seems to be well-suited to serve the needs of New Yorkers in the Senate. The 'mess' was the media's constant coverage of whether or not he would appoint Kennedy, thus creating a controversy so they could then report on it.

    January 26, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Paul

    I'm confused...blamed for what? Did he not successfully appoint a new senator that most everyone agreed was a good pick? Without controversey or comment from Caroline Kennedy?

    Indeed, confusing...

    January 26, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Outspoken

    Kirsten Gillibrand: Pro-second amendment, Anti-bailout democrat.
    If it has to be a democrat, I'm glad it's going to be this one!
    Good pic, Govenor! You did good!

    (Thanks for sending Kennedy back to Martha's Vineyard.)

    January 26, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Allison, NH

    Gillibrand – yay – a Republican wearing Democrat clothing. Just what the Senate needs...another person who is for guns and against marriage (or at least, the right to be married if you are homosexual). She can hang out with Leiberman, I guess.

    Hopefully for the rest of us, she'll just be a one-term senator.

    January 26, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Maggie in NY

    Dianne – I'm curious how Gillibrand could have voted for the "Bush tax cuts" when the bill was signed in 2003 and she wasn't elected to congress until 2006...also she is indeed a democrat – have you done any research at all? She supports many, many democratic issues. Many extremely liberal democrats oppose her solely because of her stance on gun control issues. I for one am GLAD she opposed the TARP plan, and I wrote her a letter thanking her for opposing it. She opposed the plan because it did not have enough controls attached to it as to exactly how the money was to be used. You see where the no-strings TARP bill as signed got us – those banks bought more banks, paid themselves even more multi-million dollar bonuses, and had extravagant parties with that money, rather than opening up the credit markets, and taxpayers are still in the same or worse economic situation that we were before, only $350 billion poorer.

    Mike, Syracuse NY – this is the first time I've ever read something you posted that I actually agree with.

    To All – Kirsten Gillibrand was a good pick. I am in the 20th Congressional District and she has been a good representative of the people in this district. You have to remember this is mostly republican territory – for a democrat to not only unseat a popular 4-term representative, but also to win reelection by 24 points 2 years later, is indicative of her centrist point of view. I think we need more people in congress who are willing to move towards the center. The far left and especially the far right crazies are part of the problem.

    January 26, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Ann

    Yuck on Gillibrand. She's Palin lite.

    New Yorkers may wish for what they lost. Caroline may not have marketed herself well, but is that the only way people can look at character, intellect, and potential?

    Mistakes were made. This is not ending well.

    January 26, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    Glad I dont live in NY anymore. It was bad enough when Hilary was elected. Its gone downhill ever since. Come to think of it, its a lot like Ohio...... tax tax tax spend spend spend.

    January 26, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Upstate Deb

    to Dianne – "She is pro-gun & has endorsement of the NRA.

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

    Since when is NOT following the party line to the letter (shall I say kool-aid drinkin'???) a BAD THING? Our new senator -elect seems intelligent, likeable, and able to make a decision on her own. Unless you live in NY, Dianne, you have no right to criticize our Governor's choice.

    As a law-abiding gun owner and upstate resident, I say HURRAY. There aare alot of us who think NYC should be State #51...

    January 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    Hello CNN I can not even comment on my own state? Censored again...

    January 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. NYS Voter

    Caroline Kennedy is a big girl. She wants it or she doesn't. Her foray into upstate New York was awkward and presumptuous. Rolling into a city with a great entourage, chatting with local Dems and leaving in an hour or two. Please.

    Who knows whether Paterson would have chosen her? Who cares? She announced she was withdrawing, so it doesn't matter.

    Although I'm wary of his ultimate choice, I approve the governor's handling of his entire job, including the Kennedy Soap Opera. She wants to look like a victim here. But a victim of what? Having to compete like everyone else?

    What was Paterson supposed to do? Fall at her feet when she announced that New Yorkers would be "honored" by her royal presence in the Senate?

    Remember the story of the princess and the pea? I think this princess curled up on a stack of mattresses, only to find that a pea at the bottom was "uncomfortable!"

    I don't have to agree with everything Paterson does to think he's an excellent governor.

    January 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Kathy Starr

    Caroline Kennedy did not deserve to get Hillary Clinton's Senate seat! She stabbed Hillary in the back and then wanted to take her seat? What audacity!

    January 26, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. His Royal Huh?ness

    What exactly is the problem here? If Paterson had appointed Kennedy and Kennedy had pulled out two weeks later because of her undisclosed "condition", that would've been far messier.

    January 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Jane T, Williamsburg, VA

    Well, well, well! New Yorkers finally have made some sense. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg was not the best or even a good candidate for HRC's replacement. She wanted "in" because of who she was. Finally, Paterson, even though he could have hastened the process, did not give in to the Kennedy name. Good for you, Paterson. Its about time someone had the balls to stand up for themselves.

    January 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Bradley

    This NYer blames Patterson and vehemently opposes his choice of Gillibrand. Appointing someone who's in bed with the NRA is a slap in the face to Bloomberg and others who have fought to keep illegal guns out of NY.

    Cuomo was the obvious and best choice. I would have been unhappy with Kennedy, but this is just plain bone-headed.

    January 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Humored In Texas

    The people who control the process are to blame for allowing this situation to take the direction it did. Caroline Kennedy expressed an interest in the job, and because of the national recognition of her family name the media circus was on – just like everybody knew it would. At no time did I ever see Caroline Kennedy try to grab the high ground in this mess.

    January 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Jon Davis

    Carolina Kennedy simply isn't qualified to be a senator (no, one's last name is NOT the only or most important qualifiation).

    One simply doesn't spend one's entire life not even bothering to vote and then suddenly claim you want to be one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet.

    Whether one likes it or not, to be a politician one has to politick.

    January 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    So lame.

    CNN–YET AGAIN puts out a sensational story instead of a journalistic article.

    Sucks to be owned by corporate freaks/thugs, huh?

    January 26, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Mel Springfield, Oregon

    Hey Dianne, what's wrong with being a DINO? The new Senator's stance what what the Dem's USED to stand for, once upon a time, until they decided to remake their party into the joke it is today.

    January 26, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Matt

    After hearing Caroline Kennedy in a interview I realized that she was the Kennedy's "special" little secret. Some times it is better to be seen and not heard from...... ever.

    January 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Sye the Pychic

    His lack of eyesight is not the only thing missing.This chump was appointed by a dress stainer before becoming Governor.

    January 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Jennifer NY

    Sorry, as a New Yorker I think Caroline Kennedy was 'dissed big time....for Gov. Paterson's staff to publicly say the nasty things they said about Caroline Kennedy, I can tell you he will go down in flames....he will NOT be the next Governor of New York State. He looked like an idiot over this process.....and normally, I like the guy.

    January 26, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Jill-In

    Governor Patterson should have been in complete control of the process and he let it drag out for his own reasons and in the end picked someone he felt would strengthen his ticket best in 2010 – no surprise. What is a surprise is that people of NY "blame" Kennedy for that process or having expressed the desire to be a U.S. Senator – how dare she!

    January 26, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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