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. roberts

    Mitt Romney should back off /

    September 24, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Stanley

    The man is a dictator and needs to "butt out" of a lot of things!

    September 24, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Dexter Martin, St. Louis, MO

    Hmmmmmm? I wonder if the White House has actually helped Governor Paterson win an outpouring of the sympathy vote. Nobody likes to see a blind man pushed out of anything. It just ain't decent in most people's mind.

    September 24, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. gg

    The all point is to win, if Governer Paterson can do a good job then he should go, because that is just waste of time.

    September 24, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. felicia

    Oh please, the newyorkers aren't even gonna vote for patterson anyway. they need to quit tripping, everything President Obama do they're gonna complain apparently there's a reason he wants him to step down. maybe President Obama saving his face.

    September 24, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Adam

    Just curious, isn't this percentage of people saying "butt out" less than the percentage of people who think Paterson is doing a bad job. Typical New Yorkers; even if you agree with them they get mad if you have your own opinion.

    September 24, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. CC

    Dems, don't complain, this is what you want right??? You know what is best for us because D.C. is so smart and operates so efficiently, correct????? You also have all the money you need to fix things, problem is ITS NOT YOUR MONEY TO BE GIVING AWAY!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. debk

    Obviously, six out of ten New Yorkers don't understand how our political system works.

    September 24, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Mike in Oahu

    I'm with NY on this. The irony is that it seems like discrimination towards the physically impaired.

    September 24, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jamie-NY

    I've never ever seen in my life such a weird power by the President Obama and Rombo Emmanuel have wield to controll from A to Z;
    States Senators
    Rep.
    Governors
    Corporations
    Private life of citizens through Obamacare.

    MR. PRESIDENT NEW YORKER'S LIFE IS NYKER'S, IT DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU OR RAMBO.

    September 24, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Matilda

    This is becoming a very sad state of affairs...the more Obama meddles in affairs that he needs to stay out of, the more Czars, or other individuals Obama appoints, the more speeches Obama delivers, the more actions Obama takes, the more embarrassed I become, and the more dangerous Obama becomes to America and Americans.

    Our Senators and Representatives must take a hard look at the direction Obama is going as we see more and more of his personal agenda and playbook.

    Our citizens must wise-up to the Obama agenda before too much more happens to erode our great Constitution and our position in the world.

    Obama is truly making a laughing-stock of our great country.

    September 24, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. File under "Sarcasm"

    I don't understand why the people of New York should object. Don't President Obama and the Democrats know whats best for the country even if the general public isn't smart enough to understand.

    That's what they'd have you believe on the stimulus bill, the healthcare bill, the cap and trade bill, etc., etc, etc. (or is it yada, yada, yada).

    September 24, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. linda

    why is it that he has to be into all things
    just run ur office and leave the ours along
    be the leader not the ruler

    September 24, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Jane wants the truth

    Why is the WH getting involved in a STATE issue!? This is the "change" that everyone can count on! No more state's rights? This is really uncalled for and pushing it toooooo far! We have a Constitution, at least last time I checked. Maybe it has been completely shredded now......

    September 24, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The President has a precedent for asking (although why he asked him NOT to run kinda blew MY mind!). The governor has the right of refusal. Period. Next subject.

    September 24, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Excuse me but New Yorkers are a blue state and I believe that means that the majority voted (or ACORN/SEIU voted for them) to have the arrogant thugs in office. It is a shame they are just now realizing how corrupt Obama and the gangsters are.

    September 24, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Tom

    Barry can't help himself. He has to interject his opinion into everyone's politics. He is just the Mouth of Soros. It still must be Bush's fault!

    September 24, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Stobal

    As a leader of the Democratic Party, he has every right to become involved in the party's agenda. Its been happening for as long as there have been political parties. This is nothing new, just critics trying to make a story out of nothing.

    September 24, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. PJP

    But you wanted him in office so badly, why do you want him to stay out now. Can't have your cake and eat it to.

    September 24, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Doug, New Jersey

    Woah, what is this Faux news?

    Here, this is how nbc/cbs/abc/pbs/npr/cnn/nytimes/washingtonpost is supposed to write about Obama.

    "More than six out of 10 New Yorkers questioned in a Marist College survey released Thursday are racists".

    There ya go, whew, gotta make sure you are politically correct, every Democrat in America demands it!

    September 24, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Mike in MN

    The control freak shows he does not understand freedom in America again. If this keeps up the term control freak may be an understatement.
    Even though the polls show that the people of NY would not support Paterson for re-election, they do not like Obama telling an individual to not do something that they have a perfect right to do.
    What country does Obama think this is? Is this part of what he wants to fundementally transform America into?
    If Paterson is weak, a Democrat should be able to defeat him in the party primary. Problem solved, no one gets bullied or their rights trampled on. For those paying attention this is far from the first time Obama has bulled someone to get his way.
    When will America wake up and see that Obama is not who he pretends to be? He does not understand what freedom in America really means.

    September 24, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. ted s

    whats the big deal...there are no state rights in Socialism.

    September 24, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. enoughalready

    how about doing some actual work instead of constantly lecturing people?

    oh, wait, this is the guy that's never had a real job. sorry.....

    September 24, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. oh well

    If patterson decide to run and he wins, so be it.
    Report some news CNN

    September 24, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Jay T.

    I agree with New Yorkers on this one. But, I strongly disagree that the New York Jets will make the play-offs or the Yankees can get past the Angels or the Red Sox.

    September 24, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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