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. FedUp389

    why does anyone care?

    January 26, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Casey

    Living in Gillibrand's district, I think what most of you don't know is that she reflects what most upstate New Yorker's believe. NY overall is dominated by NYC and its suburbs, which makes the rest of the country think that all of NY consists of liberal democrats. This will not help Gillibrand when it comes time for the state-wide election in 2010. But people from the vast majority of NY, by area, believe in gun ownership. That's because the vast majority of NY is rural and they use these guns for hunting, not to commit crimes. In that kind of community, gun ownership for that purpose makes sense. Now that she's responsible for considering the entire state, I've already heard her position on gun rights is shifting to accomadate views more realated to gun crimes.

    Everyone should calm down and give her a chance. You don't even know her and you're set to try to bring her down. She has at least 2 years. There's nothing you can do about it. Give her a chance and come back in 2010.

    January 26, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Anonymous


    January 26, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Dennis

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see comments that compare Kirsten Gillibrand with Sarah Palin or depict her essentially as a Republican within the Democratic party. Get a grip! I'm an independent that recognizes the disaster of the previous administration and, consequently, supported Obama. Paterson's pick of Gillibrand is great! I may not agree with all her positions, but she is forward-looking, independent, a hard worker and someone that knows her stuff. To compare her with Palin is absolutely ridiculous. Good luck Kirsten!

    January 26, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |


    Try again, CNN.

    Sucks to be owned by corporate thugs, huh?

    January 26, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Empty people voted for an empty suit

    You leftist morons are out attacking your own because he didn't pick your little golden child who has NEVER worked a day in her "you know" life.

    Not all DEMOCRATS hate guns, love terrorists and think murdering babies is a good thing.

    Some WOMEN take issues for what they are REGARDLESS of how the NOW tells them to think.

    They are called moderates or smart thinkers who are not wed to your socialist ideology..............

    Let's close gitmo with no plan on what to do with the MURDERERS, lets send MY tax dollars to other countries so I can pay for their abortions........

    Let's nominate a tax cheat to head the IRS....

    Good job liberals, I hope you are happy...........

    January 26, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |

    N- NON
    N- NEWS

    January 26, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. oracle2world

    How was Caroline Kennedy even seriously considered? She has done exactly zilch in her entire life. Gov. Palin gets crucified by the media because she does know foreign policy questions that would stump folks on Double Jeopardy, and Caroline ends up with "ya know, ya know". And she has bad hair, and what is it with the lighting? She is always photographed with wrinkles that suggests that she has vigorously "enjoyed" life. Come on, New York deserves better, someone that actually won a political election (for starters). Her excuse for withdrawing was absolutely lame. She didn't know (as did the rest of the world), that her uncle had terminal cancer and would be dead in a year? Just found out when he collapsed? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    January 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. Eric

    Hillary Clinton was a predatory opportunist for moving to NY to use the senate seat as her national political launching pad, so its nice to see that the unnecessary drama continues with her replacement.

    Hillary was hardly qualified for the position when she was elected to it. For those of you thinking that the process should be taken out of the hands of the Governers and put in the hands of the voters, I think you should be careful what you wish for.

    January 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |

    Complete Non News

    January 26, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Upstate Girl

    CNN is making a story where there is none.
    There was nothing wrong with the process. Gillibrand was already in the running and Governor Patterson stated on Live Television at the inauguration, before Carolyn pulled out, that he was going to announce his pick by the end of the week which is exactly what he did.
    CNN needs to get over the Kennedy's!

    January 26, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Optimistic Bipartisan

    Finally, some good Senate news. Minnesota, Illinois, et al take note. Sometimes cooler heads prevail.

    January 26, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Marge

    While Caroline Kennedy seems to be a nice lady, I think the governor did the correct thing when he picked someone who was experienced.

    In this time when our country needs to pull itself together, we need all the experienced help we can get.

    January 26, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Dema

    What are New Yorkers thinking? Caroline Kennedy's star status would have made her a star in the senate...and helped New Yorkers get what they need. Gillibrand's a nobody...and soon Paterson will be too.

    January 26, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Megastar

    If anything the process was unfair to Caroline Kennedy. As the early front runner everyone and their mother had the opportunity to tear her down as a candidate. I personally would have preferred Caroline over Kirsten but we were never told that was the choice. No one had a chance to give their opinion on this Kirsten. The Gov is totally at fault for not selecting a replacement sooner. He should have named Caroline Kennedy as soon as it became known she was the front runner. Instead he let the media act like the rabid dogs they are and tear her down. For her part Caroline should not have made any public statements until after her selection. Going on TV before her selection is presumptuous.

    January 26, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. James

    Caroline Kennedy really shouldn't have been considered because she has no experience in government. If she wants to run in 2010 that would be up to her..more power to her. But to be appointed to the US senate with no experience would be plain wrong!

    January 26, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. donna

    Caroline had a right to change her mind if she wanted to..it's no one's business "WHY" she changed it...last week, according to the polls NY'ers didn't want her anyway..they should be glad....get over it...

    January 26, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Flavious P. Fabulous

    I think Elmer Fudd said it best: "Be vewwy, vewwy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits!"

    January 26, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Are you kidding me?

    I'm not sure who they questioned for this poll because I don't think I have heard one person in the City say they blame anyone but Patterson for making a mockery of this whole process.
    And then he picks a pro-gun senator to represent NY??? We're not just talking baout NYC being anti-guns. You think people in Buffalo, Albany, or Binhamington are pro-guns? I doubt it.
    You just can't separate hunters rights from more guns on the streets of major cities.

    January 26, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Barbara

    Although I have admired John F., Robert and Ted Kennedy immensely, Caroline's political debut was a disaster and revealed her not to be even nearly prepared to be the junior senator from New York, and most certainly not a worthy successor to Hillary Clinton.

    January 26, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse NY

    If Caroline Kennedy had not been out campaigning publically trying to force Paterson's hand, this process would have been much smoother. Paterson always stated that he would name Clinton's replacement after she was confirmed as SOS. That's exactly what he did. There isn't any evidence that there was any chaos in his deliberations. The only chaos was the public spectacle driven by Kennedy, who VERY publically failed to clearly state why she should be picked over better qualified candidates, failed to articulate her priorities/positions if selected, and failed to convince ythe 'hiring manager' that she deserved the job.

    January 26, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. DJ

    So, I think few of us really know what happened. But from where I sit, it looked like Kennedy was somewhat of a dimwit and Paterson basically kept quiet the whole time until he named his choice. So I don't understand where he comes out the loser here.

    January 26, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. David

    blah blah blah

    Let them eat cake.

    January 26, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Carmela, Longwood, Florida

    Gov. Paterson and his cronies blew it, and he will get his comeuppance when the time comes for him to run for election. He will get his then, for having made so many mistakes in the past few weeks, and angering so many people. New Yorkers love Andrew Cuomo and considered him the most qualified person for the job of senator. The only consolation New Yorkers will now have is to see Andy Cuomo replace Gov. Paterson. How sweet that will be. I MISS YOU, NEW YORI!!!

    January 26, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Mary Ann

    I don't have anything against Caroline Kennedy, and I am pleased that the governor selected someone with some political experience to replace Senator Clinton. If caroline really wants the job, she should prepare and run for the office in 2010 so that the voter would have the opportunity to put her in office. No one should be handed the job of Senator on a silver platter -

    January 26, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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