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. Honestlady

    What mess? How was anything Caroline Kennedy's fault???

    January 26, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Chris E

    A replacement should have been name very early in the game. Caroline Kennedy only wanted the job because of her last name. listen to her speak she was not ready for the job and the governor did right by given it to some one who know how to handle their own and not use their last name as their weight.

    January 26, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. blackhat

    A great way for a Republican to get voted in. Take notes, in a house of Democrats just run Democrat.

    January 26, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. tlou

    If Caroline was ever really interested and commited to obtaining a Senate seat then she can run for it in 2 years. There was nothing wrong with the process. No one was "entitled" no matter how popular or decent they are or what their name is.

    That is what Hillary did and anything other official who was elected for their office. This should have been a special election. No appointees if the remaining time is over a year. We knew of Hillary's pick as SoS for over a month now and that she'd be a likely cabinet member for longer. Candidates could have been working a campaign a while ago and then hit the streets when it was obvious Clinton was leaving.

    Another way to end this garbage is to mandate that if you are running for president you have to give up any current seat you are holding immediately. Sure, you run the risk of losing a good representative. But if they are spending all their time campaigning they shouldn't be drawing a tax-payer funded salary for a job they aren't doing. This would give more time to set up special elections.

    January 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Lance Coardill

    You cannot blame Caroline- After all, she was born with a siliver foot in her mouth.

    I was so unimpressed after hearing her present herself that there would be no way I could vote for her. My 17 year old daugther can more cogently articulate a sentence (without 3 "you knows") than Mrs. Shlossberg. She was WAY in over her head. Let her live her life of privileged obscurity. There's work to be done.

    January 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    she and HER family pushed thinking they could run the show....now SHE knows!!!!

    all the Kennedy's fault

    Paterson RULES!!!!!

    January 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. ran

    With what I have seen so far this person will not win in 2010 and her pick may have open the door wide for a Republican to take that seat in 2010 and Patterson will most likely lose in 2010 as well.

    January 26, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. John Duggan

    As a child in Ireland I recall my grandmother having two photographs on her sitting room wall – one of the Pope and the other of John F. Kennedy. Now, 30 years later, as a U.S. citizen and Democrat I am pleased that Caroline K. was not appointed. This country most surely does not need political dynasties like the Kennedies and the Bushes. Caroline K. was unqualified for the position. Period. What we DO need are term limits for the House and Senate, complete public funding for federal elected office – no private money WHATSOEVER, and continuing guaranteed free access for all canddidates to network T.V. stations. In short, let's get private money and entitlement out of public life!

    January 26, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. The Jellyman

    Gary of El Centro, I am not sure how the governor could have named a replacement much sooner. Any person holding the seat would have had to resign first. It was proper for Clinton to remain a senator right up to her confirmation as Secretary of State.

    I agree with Dave, I don't see the mess here. The media have fanned the flames and we are only too willing to warm ourselves with it. Mistrust of the government absolutely must be the order of the day. It is disappointing that there is not one journalist anymore, not a single one, who will take the time to sift through the actual facts and present them with no fanfare. Then we would have seen that the process actually worked.

    Greg, I hope you get your period and apostrophe keys fixed soon. That was one tough read without them.

    January 26, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Michael

    We're just lucky that moron didn't appoint his cat or something.

    January 26, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. susan

    The truth is Kennedy, any Kennedy is bad for NY. She aligned her self with Sharpton and he is a joke. She had no interest in upstate NY, I doubt she even knows that there is a NY outside of Manhattan.

    January 26, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Eloise Campfield

    As a conservative Republican, amazingly enough I'm content with this pick. She represents those other than NYC! It's about time we here in WNY and the rural areas got a voice. So please don't let us down Mrs. Gilibrand!

    January 26, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. mario

    Why Blame Gov Paterson?

    1) He stated in the beginning that he would name a successor after Hillary was CONFIRMED!. (that's what happened)

    2) Caroline is a good person but she wasn't ready for the scrutiny.

    3) The press actually deserves much of the blame for salivating over this pick for the last two months. Now they are trying to be good guys by defending Caroline who they ripped daily!

    4) The media should name the sources from Paterson's office that allegedly outed Caroline's personal business. Until they do, I won't believe a word that the media puts out.

    Don't censor me..Please

    January 26, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Diana Ewing NJ

    I fine that poll results very difficult to believe...

    January 26, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. vk

    Well. Caroline Kennedy is to be admired and know
    if more politicans were like her. our country would be
    better off. i'd vote for her any time...

    January 26, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Eloise Campfield

    Oh... and might I add... Princess Caroline has no experience nor deserved the seat just because she was a former presidents daughter. That'd be kinda' like Hilary Clinton getting the senate seat here in NY just because she was a former First Lady [which none of us are dumb, that's why she got it].

    January 26, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. cwang

    I really thought Caroline can do the job until I read the transcript of that interview. Just to be fair, hers was just as bad as Sarah Palin's if not worse. It's not just the "you know", she couldn't even explain clearly what makes her a good choice. If she can't advocate for herself, then how would she be capable to advocate for the New Yorkers? The family name shouldn't determine if you can get the senate seat, period.

    January 26, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Renae, Houston, TX

    I guess I don't understand why they are blamming Caroline. Gov. Paterson had no intentions of chosing her as Hillary's replacement and he allowed the farce to go on. I mean she dropped her name due to the fact that someone in his office told Caroline that she was not going to be "the choice", so she bowed out gracefully.

    January 26, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Debra Austin, Texas

    I understand that New Yorkers think this is a local story but it's not. With this selection, it is unclear how much support Obama will be getting on his economic policies. Frankly, the selection from a national perspective is disappointing becasue the country needs support for Obama. New York is a state that can provide it. But instead, it seems the nation got a person who will serve Paterson's needs (for upstate support) and Shumer's need to still be the 'big dog'. Somehow, I wonder if even NYorkers have been short changed. Time will tell.

    January 26, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Leonard, CA

    Considering the amount of Caroline's own personal time devoted to helping NY public and it's children, I'd rather have a person in Congress that did all that philantropic work vs someone that didn't. It speaks volumes in character, morals/ethics and priorities. Gov. Paterson could have named anyone at anytime, but didn't. He chose to make it a dog and pony show. Blame the Governor for dragging it out, not Caroline. Heck, just look at Blagojevich's farce of a replacement process. I feel sorry for NY, must be odd to have so much angst vs those that actually tried to help you like Caroline. /facepalm

    January 26, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. LJones

    I cannot believe you even asked the "blame game" question. Does it really matter? Will it change the outcome? Will it help the economy or the wars? Get real. Focus on what will help us as Americans not what will divide us.

    January 26, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. The 'liberal' media isn't playing nice

    What ever happened to all that favoritism the 'liberal' media has for Dems?

    This kind of hits that idea way out the park when you're dissing a Kennedy.

    You got to hand it to our media, because this proves that media is interested in one thing, getting the most attention.

    January 26, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Blame games people play

    Blaming her for what?

    January 26, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. California Gold

    If Caroline Kennedy is serious about becoming a United States Senator she can launch an incredible campaign for the 2010 election. I think Ms. Kennedy is fully aware of how adversarial American politics can be and I'm certain she is accustomed to dealing with loss. She can write the manual of working through loss and disappointment. But getting in the blame game is useless. Personally my impression of Gov. Paterson is he's an idiot.

    January 26, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. serah

    Will it anger Paterson if SNL makes some comedy out of this????

    January 26, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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