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. BJs

    This is too funny. I'm an upstate NYer and I never did blame Caroline Kennedy for the process. If anyone is to blame, point the finger at Patterson! As for NYer's not liking her because she didn't endorse Hillary Clinton? Pul-leeze. I was an Obama support from Day 1 and Hillary never had a chance with me, although I do like and respect her, just not for the job of President.

    January 26, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Jackson, Seattle

    This is all a joke. No one was to blame for anything. The seat didnt become vacant until HRC was sworn in as SOS. Why should he have named a successor for a seat that wasn't officially vacated until only last week?

    This is the media making much ado about nothing. They got tired of waiting for this to play out in real time, so they sensationalized a story where there wasn't one. When this poll was conducted, was "the media" one of the choices made available? If it were, I bet the outcome would have been radically different.

    January 26, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Objective thinking

    Lisa in Seattle: I think the NY governor is supposed to make his decision based on qualifications, which is not the same as asking the people of NY to re-elect her.

    January 26, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. ZZT

    Caroline Kennedy is a freak!

    January 26, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Rick


    Caroline for the shameless begging for the job. Patterson for failing to take control of the process that was his and his alone.

    January 26, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Upstate Deb

    to Brooke – January 26th, 2009 11:11 am ET

    "PLEASE stop saying she is from/represents UPSTATE NY…. she is from the 20th Congressional District – which is about as Upstate NY as Miami FL"

    Hey Brooke – look at a map! Upstate is ANYTHING north of Westchester County, the NYC boroughs, and Long Island. Besides, Miami is a hell of alot WARMER this time of year than upstate NY...

    OMG, idiocy reigns... alot of people without common sense (which is plentiful in UPSTATE NY) posting here .

    January 26, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Blue balloons

    Republicans are pleased with Gillibrand. This should be setting off all kinds of bells and alarms. Somebody is about to rob the store.

    January 26, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. MAJ

    The Governor was wrong to drag his choice for Clinton's replacement.

    Now we must move on.

    If Caroline still has the itch for politics, she should use this time to continue being an outstanding citizen that she is.. and prepare for the next senate election. She will win hands down.

    January 26, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Stupid is as Stupid...

    Blame her for what? CNN – how many mentally challenged people did you find to survey? Because i would anticipate the average response to this question should have been "blame her for what?"

    She threw her name in the ring....she realized she wasnt going to get it and withdrew her name, Patterson picked who he was going to.

    I dont quite understand what we are blaming for? Or what the problem was that occured?

    must be a slow news day...

    January 26, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Bill

    I agree this is a postive change I can believe in too.

    It appears that Secetary of State Hillary Clinton is having the last laugh on the Kennedy's too.

    January 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Cliff

    Kennedy or Gillibrand.

    No difference.

    Both female and both....VERY LIBERAL!!!

    No change so give it up.

    January 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Andrea Carlson

    Caroline Kennedy waffled . . . Gov. Patterson waffled . . . in the end the correct choice was made. CK has some personal issues that will eventually come out – albeit she should have known she'd be under a microscope before starting the process. The Gov. should have said nothing about her personal life – a lesson learned.

    Kristen Gillibrand is a smart (Dartmouth+ law school) person, born and raised in Albany, has worked as a lawyer on Wall Street and can also mix it up with rural folks. She lives just outside of Albany – the State Capitol – not exactly in the "upstate" NY woods! "Upstate" is where I live . . . 200 miles NORTH of Albany. Her greatest strength is being able to relate to people in NYC as well as in rural communities.
    This will serve her well so let's. . . GIVE HER A CHANCE !

    January 26, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Susan, Macedon New York

    I don't blame Kennedy, but I didn't think she was a good choice and I'm glad she dropped out. She could have been a bit more smooth about it – this I quit–no, I don't-yes I do–business was kind of lame.
    Shows she really wasn't ready for the job.

    I'm actually more interested in Joeseph Bruno and the charges against him. As one third of the "most dysfuncitonal state government in the country", he definitely needs to be investigated (as does Silver – it's too late to nail Pataki, unfortunately).

    January 26, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Staff Sergeant Salmon

    If Kennedy blame Clinton...whether its true or not I say GOOD! Yah how about the Karma, actually I would be pleased if Hillary did pull some backdoor favors to render Caroline the political shaft. Its the least HRC could do after being robbed of the nom. BTW is it me or couldn't Obama have waited to reverse this whole "abortion" deal? It is too early and the times are too bad. I am pro-choice, staunchly pro-choice but now wasn't the time to do this. We have more pressing issues at hand, this does not look like a reversal of Bush's policies...it looks like a "favor for a favor" type of thing.

    Although the conservatives are a dying breed, he just gave them a shot of epinephrine. Wrong timing President Obama.

    Back to the subject, this appointment may set the dems up for failure against the GOP in NY...just my opinions

    January 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Chris

    It is ironic that Kennedy serving on Obama's Vice Presidential selection committee was considered one of her primary qualifications. Her recommendation of "Crazy Uncle Joe" for VP is one which causes additional scores of Americans to pray every night for President Obama's continued good health.

    January 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. james

    What does it matter who gets the blame? Bottom line is the Kennedys will blame Paterson, and that means no second term for him.

    January 26, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Rickymo

    How silly...Gillebrand will be fine. we need to let all of this crap go.

    January 26, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Lauren

    flo,,,, What do you mean leave Caroline alone? She should be treated no different than Sarah Palin has been. She wanted a public office, why should she be left alone. The media and many of the bloggers are allowed to take cheap shots at Palin every time she makes a move.
    Actually, many of the bloggers thirve and live for it. They take sheer joy on calling Palin names and insulting her because she talks different than they do, so they slam her.

    Caroline is no more, or no less protected that Sarah is.

    January 26, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Kathy

    Why do my comments never make it out of moderation? I hope you're not emailing me to confirm, because I can't get to my personal email account from here at work.

    January 26, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Caroline Kennedy is like Hillary Clinton. She can do anything she sets her mind to. She's better prepaed than some of the bozos already there. However I would have loved to see her as our UN representaive.

    January 26, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. Patty in the CA mountains

    Why in the world would it be Kennedy's fault???? Isn't the pick the choice of the Governor and the Governor only??? If it was bungled it would seem to be on him, not her.....

    January 26, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Cec

    I'm an upstate NY'er. Kennedy had no experience and was counting on her name to carry her through this. She wasn't the best candidate. No one is to blame. The best candidate was chosen. She is just a wining Kennedy who wasn't selected – a blow to the Kennedy ego. She wasn't going to be selected and she had to come up with some statement to put the blame on something or someone else. Sorry Caroline you are NOT the best choice.

    January 26, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. BOH

    Patterson comes out of this looking like an incompetent, mean-spirited fool, and Ms. Kennedy comes out looking like she is not ready for prime time.

    January 26, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Bdover

    I just glad Hillary is out. I still don't know what she did for New York other than use us to run for president.

    January 26, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Nunya

    How absurd. If there is any blame about a circus in connection with selecting someone, it lies squarely on the media. They are the ones who obsessed over the question and published uncounted articles and played up the drama. All Kennedy did was declare she would be interested, then take herself out of it after many media circus acts. Neither she nor Paterson controled the media nonsense.

    January 26, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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