September 24th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: New Yorkers say White House should 'butt out'

New York voters want President Barack Obama to stay out of their state's politics, according to a new poll.
New York voters want President Barack Obama to stay out of their state's politics, according to a new poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York voters want President Barack Obama to stay out of their state's politics, according to a new poll.

More than six out of 10 New Yorkers questioned in a Marist College survey released Thursday said it's wrong for the White House to suggest that Gov. David Paterson not run next year for election to a full term. Just over a quarter said that the Obama administration is well within its rights to get involved.

The poll suggested that even a majority of Democrats, 51 percent, believes that the White House is meddling in their state's affairs. More than three quarters of Republicans questioned and nearly two thirds of Independents agreed.

The survey of New York voters was conducted Tuesday, a day after the White House refused to confirm or deny a report that President Barack Obama urged Paterson not to seek a full term in 2010.


Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs - asked about a New York Times report from Sunday which said that Obama "sent a request" to Paterson urging him to step aside from the governor's race - said Paterson is in a "tough situation" and said ultimately the decision on whether or not he is going to make a bid to keep his job next year is one "that he's going to make."

Informed sources earlier this week told CNN that White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard met early last week with the Democratic governor to let him know about the administration's concerns he could not win the governor's race next year - a problem that could affect races down-ticket, not the least of which the Senate seat now held by Kirsten Gillibrand. The White House decision to approach Paterson, said one source, "was driven by the poll numbers. There doesn't seem to be any way he can recover."

Paterson, who was lieutenant governor when a scandal led to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's departure from the office in March 2008, has said he's running next year for a full term as governor. But Wednesday, Patterson appeared to suggest for the first time that he might not run for election next year.

"If I got to a point where I thought that my candidacy was hurting my party, obviously it would be rather self-absorbed to go forward" Paterson said at a luncheon in Syracuse that was reported by both the Times and the New York Daily News.

Recent polls of New Yorkers indicate that Paterson trails New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by a greater than 3 to 1 margin in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup. Cuomo, the son of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, has not indicated whether he'll challenge Paterson.

Obama met with Cuomo and other top New York state officials Monday when he was in upstate New York for a speech on the economy and education. Paterson did not attend the meeting, but did greet the president at an airport arrival. Obama recognized the governor at the top of his speech.

Rep. Dan Maffei, a first term Democrat who represents voters in upstate New York, says "I, for one, welcome the president's involvement."

"Clearly, the situation in New York is unusual and requires leadership at a greater level than anyone in New York can provide," added Maffei in comments first reported by The Politico.

Recent polls also suggest that Paterson trails possible Republican challenger Rudy Giuliani by double digits in a hypothetical general election matchup. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, has said he'll make up his mind later this year whether he'll mount a bid for New York governor.

Rick Lazio, a former Republican congressman from Long Island who lost to then-first Lady Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate battle in New York, announced his own gubernatorial run Tuesday. Recent surveys suggest Paterson holds a narrow lead over Lazio in a hypothetical matchup.

The Marist poll indicates New Yorkers are split on whether Paterson will hurt other Democrats running for election in 2010. Among Democrats only, 48 percent believe he'll have a negative impact with 36 percent saying he will not hurt other candidates from his party.

But the argument that Paterson's candidacy could have a negative impact on other Democrats running for office in New York State doesn't change minds, even among Democrats. According to the survey, only 42 percent of Democrats agree with the White House, with 48 percent saying it was wrong for the White House to put pressure on Paterson.

The poll also indicates that only a quarter of all voters want Paterson to run for re-election and only 17 percent think he's doing a good or excellent job as governor.

The Marist College poll was conducted on September 22, with 616 New York State voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    2nd politician in 2 days to stand up to Obama's "suggestions" in an election. Messiah meets Reality.

    Question Authority! Let's take the DNC-RNC clubhouse apart.

    September 24, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    What??? Opposition to the Meddler in Chief by New Yorkers??? NY – you just lost your stimulus funds.....

    September 24, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. bellablue

    This story reminds me of kids playing "telephone". The first person tells the "real" story, and after about 25 kids repeating it, the story is completely different when the last kid tells it!! GET WITH THE PROGRAM, MEDIA!! The "blame" DOES NOT belong on the White House!! Has President Obama called a news conference to let every person know, by cable TV, Twitter, Face Book, radio, etc. that he doesn't want Paterson running????? OF COURSE NOT!!

    September 24, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Everyone should "bud out"...LEGALIZE IT!!!

    September 24, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. elliott

    Butt Out Osama !! You dictator !!

    September 24, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Wake Up

    Obama thinks he controls all. He forgot states have rights too. But what do we do...........give him more power:
    - Own Banks
    - Own Car Companies
    - Determine compensation in private companies
    - Control our health care, even though 75% of us are happy
    - Botch Afganistan

    Does Obama ever go away????? Less Fed govt. NOW!

    September 24, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Let's not have anymore elections at all. Obama can just decide who he wants and get them appointed like he's done in MA, and is trying in VA and NY. I'm sure he 'selected' Burris in IL too. When does he change his title to President-for-Life Obama?

    September 24, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Brina

    Oh Let them lose the governors seat if they want to......

    September 24, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. AzJake

    I am a staunch supporter of Obama, but I am a strong states right kind of guy, and I am totally dismayed that he chose not to use the customary back channel.

    September 24, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. tv

    Patterson should tell bloomberg to stop raising taxes !

    September 24, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    New Yorkers outclass The One any day of the week when it comes to unbridled arrogance. But I can't decide who I despise more in that department– Schumer, Rangel or Obama.

    September 24, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Kevin in Ohio

    To ask Obama to butt out is like asking King Midas to give up his gold. It just won't happen. Obama is all about power, and he won't stop until he has it completely, and has eliminated every single freedom we have ever enjoyed in America.

    September 24, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. marcus (seattle)

    i'd prefer obama tell arlen specter to NOT run...

    September 24, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. shmeckel

    How dare New York speak out against Obama, who do they think they are?

    September 24, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Nea

    Whether the White House "butt in" or not its still up to the people of New york to decide.

    September 24, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. KC

    The White House needs to stay out of state politics. Don't try coming to Texas and telling us what to do!

    September 24, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. Chris - MN

    Sounds like a pointless poll that suggests a response. You could probably formulate one that would get a totally different response – such as "do you want to see a democratic candidate for governor with a greater chance of winning" and "do you accept that one role of the president is to act as the de facto leader of the party".

    September 24, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. CITIZEN

    I AGREE – MYOB That is .... the business of the office of the president. PERIOD

    September 24, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. victim of republican greed

    It would be a shame if that cute little teddy bear, Rick Lazio, would get elected. At least he would make Joe 'the liar' Wilson look like a normal person.

    September 24, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    The President is entitled to his opinion.

    Paterson will make his decision whether or not to run.

    And the good people of New York will vote for the candidate of their choice.

    That's democracy, BABY!

    September 24, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, North Carolina

    This kind of meddling in state affairs just demonstrates how much contempt Obama has for the Federal system that's the basis for the country's political structure. This guy wants to control everything, all branches of the Federal government, the state government, the lives of private citizens, everything!

    September 24, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Guts to Say it

    Awww .. is the Obama bubble bursting???
    Are folks finally awakening to the possiblity that maybe . .the emperor is not wearing clothes???
    The question though is .. Is Obama capable of listening?
    So far in all the months that he has been campaigning .. one fact has emerged .. he is a great orator .. a great speaker .. and probably incapable of tolerating opinions which may not be what HE is thinking

    September 24, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Farrell in Houston

    In other words let the Republicans "butt in", sorry it doesn't work that way. Get real New Yorkers, you're some of the smartest people in this country so don't disappoint me.

    September 24, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Krissie

    Too bad they didn't ask me, I think Patterson is doing an awful job, shouldn't run, and that, as a fellow Democrat trying to ensure his party will maintain a lead over Republicans, Obama was 100% right.

    September 24, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. J C Roach

    The less he has, the better.

    September 24, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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