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. Amber, Orlando

    I agree wholeheartedly. Obama needs to stay out of it. Who the heck does he think he is? Just because you're President, doesn't give you control of everything and everybody. Mind your own. Ugh, how pompous.

    September 24, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. kate

    Excellent news!!

    I love New Yorkers......

    September 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. CTW

    Obama is smart, he knows you NYorkers won't reelect Patterson and swarmy Repug Guiliani may have a shot. Obama can't afford to lose his majority nos. right now with all that he needs to push thru congress!

    September 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    In the world of liberals, evil is good, and good is evil. Obama is evil incarnate.

    September 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. rachel

    President Obama is right he should not run , he's going to screw up thing for the dem. party. He's not a leader, he don't know what he's during now, what the h.... will he do if by any slim chance he win. we will be in worst shape than we already are. I'm tell him to leave the governors position alone, let someone run that knows what they're during.

    September 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. wanna

    state affair should be left to the people of that state to decide, white house should never interfere whether Patterson has the chance or not

    September 24, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. John McGoldrick

    The White House should stay out of local politics regardless of political or party preference and interests. Local voters know their own problems best.

    September 24, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. New Era

    I like Obama. but he should let New Yorkers decide their future. He out of line here.

    September 24, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. The Czech

    Obama can't help himself. He is, remember, king of the world (or so he thinks).

    September 24, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Charley B.

    Obama continues to pursue his Marxist socialist policies by removing intellectual opposition in order to systematically loot the country of it wealth for himself and his cronies. This is only the beginning. Soon he will establish his own secret police force and begin his clamp down on the population at large. Land redistribution, forced labor and concentration camps await us all.

    September 24, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Craig

    Agreed.. it is well within the office of the President to get involved just as Bush did in other governor's races. End of story.

    September 24, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Lisa B

    I think Obama was just stating the obvious, so I don't understand what the fuss is about. As a practical matter, if NY dems want a candidate who can win, it will need to be a stronger candidate than Paterson, who has many good qualities, but is not a viable candidate when he has an 18% approval rating. Duh. Those stubbornly digging in their heels on this (including Paterson) are being short-sighted and are cutting off the dems' nose to spite its face. That's how you lose elections.

    September 24, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Hotdog

    They are absolutely correct. You would think that he would know better. Please do not get me wrong, I voted for The President but I do not agree with every thing that he does. This just happen to be one of them.

    September 24, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. annie against biased news

    obama can't even do his job as president let alone trying to decide who should or should not be a govenor.

    September 24, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Tired

    Obama is doing the only thing he can. Keeping his mouth shut. If he says ANYTHING somebody will spin it the wrong way, claim they believe or don't believe it...etc etc. All poliicians should learn to keep quiet on these "he said/she said" no-win situations.

    September 24, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. bob from Oregon

    President Obama has enough on his plate without suggesting anyone in New York should do anything. I voted for him, and I think with Health care at the forefront, Mr. Obama needs to concentrate on that–Not NY politics. New Yorkers are an independent bunch with a lot of moxie, and they will do what they think is best for their state. They don't need help or suggestions from the president.

    September 24, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Lisa B

    I also wonder why so many of you are acting like this type of "input" has never been given by a President before. You should ask yourself why you are holding Obama to a difference standard than you have held any other President. Maybe Jimmy Carter is right after all . . .

    September 24, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Trevor

    What I want for the state that I live in is a governor who will get the job done, be he or she black or white. I, always thought it was about getting the job done and not about color or race. Let us have a run off between Cumo and Patterson. I, already know who will get my vote.

    September 24, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. If the insurance companies win, YOU LOSE

    I’m not surprised to hear that New Yorkers can be a bit territorial, though they usually hear someone out before telling him that he’s wrong!

    September 24, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Vets4Obama

    This is the one time Obama has made a mistake, he should not have meddled in New Yorks business.

    However, when a republican makes a mistake in New York 3000 residents are killed. I'll take a democratic mistake ANY time.

    btw: Where are all the morons screaming "Paterson kept us safe his ENTIRE term, not just some of it...but ALL of it". Oh, that's right, they only say those retarded things when talking about how Bush kept them safe, as long as you disregard those 3000 dead new yorkers.

    September 24, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. tdorch

    There is no way David Patterson is winning an election in NY. He didnt have to deal with him and his wife's infedelity during an election year, but trust me, the drugs and all those things will be brought up. Obama does not want to lose NY and Patterson would surely lose to Rudy; Cumo is a safer and better pick. This is poitics people, Patterson is not doing a great job; heck he didnt back Obama in the election; he wanted Hillary and now Obama wants Cumo.

    September 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Sudeep

    This is not about the State... It is about the Democratic party and trying to ensure they have enough power left in the important states. It is not about Obama in his role as the President ...It is about a senior leader of a Party and having a strategy to be in the majority....

    September 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. GGG

    Obama and Pelosi – POWER TRIP... !!!!! You both have shown your true colors!!! BUTT OUT!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Barack reads, Unions Thrive and the Economy dies.

    Cradle to Grave Control that is what Obama is all about. I say Obama, you Marxist Socialist Commie, BUTT OUT and take your ideology with you to Moscow.

    September 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Stu

    What do you expect from someone who meddles in local police affairs and says the police "acted pretty stupidly?"

    Or called for the resignation of the GM CEO?

    Or stands by a leftist leader who illegally tried to muscle a change to a Constitution so he could stay in office?

    September 24, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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