September 24th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
9 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. Jackie in Dallas

    And without being present, how would anyone know that President Obama put any sort of pressure on the Governor (which I doubt)? Hmmm? A breach of confidentiality is a serious thing.

    At least Paterson is not willfully ignoring his party by holding on to his job in blatant disregard to breaches in ethics, morals, and procedures like Sanford is. Hey, GOP, when are you going to start criticizing HIM? I couldn't care less that he had an affair, frankly - that's between he and his wife, in my book - but to not only leave his state, but the country for almost a week without any emergency contact info was malfeasance in office. His own party members in the state legislature have called for him to resign...if he continues to balk, THEY should initiate impeachment proceedings, not the Dems, if they don't want to look like raving hypocrites and lunatics!

    September 24, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Wheat

    100% agree! Too many national issues that should take priority.

    September 24, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Tim

    Obama believes that changing the rules to suit his needs is an excellent choice.

    Change you can believe in.

    September 24, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Trylon

    Are these the same New Yorkers who would indict a ham sandwich?

    September 24, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Phil

    Bravo to the New Yorkers for standing up to him and his "suggestions".

    September 24, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Jessie

    That's ironic considering his approval rating is in the tank. So what are they saying? Stay in the race so you can lose?

    September 24, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Tim

    Kirk can join Roland Burris for beers with Obama. They are now three peas in a pod, all rotten.

    September 24, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Paul

    Bush did this all the complaints from Republicans then.

    September 24, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Laura

    Republicans have become chronic complainers.

    September 24, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Mason

    The meddler in chief puts his nose everywhere but where he is needed. Maybe President Clinton should move back into the White House to be a full time mentor.

    September 24, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    WOW – I am a former native-New Yorker and I know how we think. But looking at it from a distance – the Democrats are going to lose New York in the next election.... tsk, tsk!!

    President Obama, PLEASE stay out of their business!!! What you think would HELP is not... I always thought states looked forward to endorsements coming from a President – especially a popular one – but this is NEW YORK!!!

    September 24, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Ok, this is getting childish people. You don't know everything that the President and Patterson discussed. For all you know, Patterson may have said something along the lines of the fact that he's tired and needs a break so the President made the suggestion. I think its time for some people, including Pattersons wife, to grow up.

    September 24, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Tim

    All the liberals on this site are correct. Kirk was appointed after the legislature passed a new law. It's all legal.

    It's not moral, and it's purely political, and Obama staked his reputation on not having politics as usual.

    So it's Obama's reputation that is stained. So be it, just another thing that makes those who voted for him out to be fools.

    September 24, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Allison23

    Republicans are whiners, bashers, compainers and nonproductive twits. They're down-right stupid now.

    September 24, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Demo-Brat

    The WH needs to meddle: give this guy the boot.

    September 24, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat

    For the first time I will agree with something Obama should have refrained from, and that is the election in New York.

    That however, has been his only 'mistake'.

    On a side note: When a republican makes a mistake in New York costs 3000 lives. I'll take an Obama mistake ANY day over a republican mistake.

    September 24, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. JILL

    Ever notice? Nothing gets done if a Republican is involved.

    September 24, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Christian Values

    Hey, why aren't all the morons screaming "Patterson kept New York safe for his time in office...not just 'some' of it, but ALL of it"

    September 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. PL

    Can't fault him for his interest. Can't fault New Yorkers for wanting him to butt out.
    That just shows how intent he is to solidy his power.

    September 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Robert

    Seems to me like Obama is meddling too much into everything. Keep him out of California, out of the economy, and out of the country. I think Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran all have some cozy spots for him.

    September 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Wake Up

    After the last 8 years, and this first year of Obama, isn't it clear the President has TOO MUCH power? It's a checks and balance system, which he, nor his minions want to understand.

    September 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. jano1234

    Way to go, New York!!! You are so right.

    September 24, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. IndyVoter

    Yeah right. If the White House had always butted out of NY politics, Hillary Clinton would not be their Senator today. You CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS NY! And by the way, the White House will get out of NY when you get Rudy Giuliani off of the Sunday News Circuit and start acting like the blue state you are.

    September 24, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Lamont

    Who are these polls really being directed at. No one really cares that the president is butting in politics unless you are a right wing extremes. Come on CNN bring something more news worthy.

    September 24, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Proud Member..Party of No

    Kommandant Obama will not be pleased to hear this. New York will have to be punished for their treacherous defiance!

    September 24, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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