January 30th, 2009
12:19 PM ET
9 months ago

Did search for Clinton replacement hurt Paterson?

 Gov. David Paterson eventually chose Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
Gov. David Paterson eventually chose Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

(CNN) – A new poll suggests that New York Gov. David Paterson may be paying a price with voters for the way he handled  the choosing of a successor to replace Hillary Clinton as the state's junior U.S. Senator.

Thirty percent of those questioned in a Siena College survey of New York voters that was released today disapprove of the way Paterson is handling his job. That's Paterson's highest level of disapproval since he was sworn in as governor last March.

Fifty-four percent approve of the way Paterson is handling his job as governor, down ten points from last November, before Barack Obama announced that he was nominating Clinton to serve as secretary of state. That triggered a nearly two month long search by Paterson to determine a successor for Clinton, a process was often quite public and at times messy. Paterson eventually chose Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand after sources in his administration reportedly leaked negative information regarding Caroline Kennedy, who was considered a frontrunner to replace Clinton.

The poll indicates that Paterson is not getting rave reviews for how he handled the search, with 62 percent saying the Governor did a fair or poor job and only 33 percent feeling he did a good or excellent job. But 51 percent of those questioned favored Gillibrand's appointment, with 28 percent opposed.

Paterson is up for election as governor next November. He won election as lieutenant governor in the 2006 election and stepped up to the number one job in New York after then-Gov. Elliot Spitzer resigned last year in the wake of a prostitution scandal.

The Siena College poll was conducted Jan. 25-27, with 622 registered New York State voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. James

    Both Paterson and Gillibrand will lose their primaries. People are fed up with what has happened to New York with career politicians in charge.

    January 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. valwayne

    I'm amazed that Patterson's approval rating isn't over 50% after the totally incompetent way he handled filling the Senate seat. And the complete trashing by his office of the daughter of President Kennedy wasn't incompetent, it was disgusting. Apparently New York voters are like those in Illinois. They enjoy the corruption and incompetence and the drama it provides more than they dislike the bad government it provides. Utlimately the voters deserve what they vote for....if NY voters like Patterson they are welcome to him....thank God I don't live in that state!

    January 30, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. R

    i'm from New York and I'll be voting for him

    January 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Ray Ray

    His considering an inexperienced inarticulate non-resident because her name was "Kennedy" is what hurt Paterson!

    January 30, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I think Paterson botched this one completely and voters won't forget. Too bad.

    January 30, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. cnnnewser

    Patterson handled it badly – he played to the press and made a game of choosing Hillarys replacement.
    He should have laid low and made his decision – instead of helping to ruin the reputation of Caroline Kennedy.
    I have lost all respect for him, and guarantt he won't be elected when his term ends.

    January 30, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Amber

    I think he did a fabulous job. I am sooooooo glad it wasn't Caroline Kennedy! She is ridiculous.

    January 30, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Sophia in Canada

    It is hard to say because no one really knows the facts. Patterson should have been preparing to replace the Senate seat ever since President Obama nominated Clinton for Madame Secretary.
    In fact he should have been thinking about it ever since Hillary announced she was running for Prez .

    January 30, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    I'm still waiting for moderation? What I can not comment on issues in my own state?

    January 30, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Victoria

    What you conveniently leave out are the soaring numbers for his pick Kirsten Gilliibrand. As more voters get to know her, watch her numbers rise even further. Watch for Paterson's stock to go up, as well.

    Also, why hasn't CNN reported that anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy don'ated to TWO of Gillibrand's races?

    Just askin....

    January 30, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. KJL

    I thought Caroline Kennedy would have made an excellent senator, and had hoped she would run. However, my opinion of her was diminished when she acted as though Clinton's seat should have been made available to her simply because she asked for it. Perhaps people were irritated by the suspense, but how could another senator be appointed while Clinton was still in office? Governor Paterson did nothing wrong.

    January 30, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Helene

    I am from New York and I will NEVER vote for Paterson after the way he treated Caroline Kennedy.

    January 30, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Laura, Boston

    Well NY if a bad PR move concerning a VIP is how you rate your Governor than I feel sorry for you all.

    How about Charlie Rangel? He has had more tax problems than Carter has little liver pills yet I don't see or hear any cries for him to step down or indications that he will not be elected again.

    @valwayne...big deal she is the daughter of a former President. You can't possibly throw all the blame on Patterson when Ms. Kennedy (whatever happened to her married name?) herself seemed totally uninterested in what it takes to remain in the Senate. She was going to have to campaign and you could tell that didn't impress her and it showed in her lazy man's approach toward the idea of having to run after 2 years.

    Also, why should Gillibrand be punished for Gov Patterson picking her for Hillary's replacement? Answer: she shouldn't.

    January 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Millie Gee

    Yes.

    January 30, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Ben Malinga

    Where do you New Yorkers find all these strange people? Even Hillary was not a New Yorker and you voted for her. What's with you folks? Don't you have better in New York than what you have put forward to date?

    January 30, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. FreeNLovIt

    Heck no! This guy is a man in his own rights! This is America and he should be as free as bird to do what he wants to do. Caroline brought this disaster upon herself, not this blind governor or half-blind or however you want to describe this brilliant man. He just needs to stick out his claws to win.

    January 30, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Dan in NY

    I am a NYer and I think Paterson has done an excellent job. There is nothing wrong with the man waiting for Hillary Clinton to be confirmed to announce her replacement, and waiting longer gave more of an opportunity for the less desireable and competent candidates (like Caroline Kennedy) to drop out. Paterson has been a fiscally responsible and no-drama leader, and we need more of that! I don't see what happened with the Senate pick as drama, I think of it as caution and looking to do what's best for his state!

    January 31, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |