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. Gale

    Doe it seem that our President is a tad bit controlling? Keep watching! It ain't over yet.

    September 24, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Anon

    Well, Paterson's obviously unpopular anyway, so Obama's mistake here is not exactly earth-shattering...

    September 24, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. RMc

    Classic - "He's a failure, but he's our failure."

    Paterson's approval ratings are in the toilet, no one wants him as Gov., but if the Pres. asks him not to run then he's "meddling." If Obama didn't do anything about it, then those same people would say he should be getting involved, for the sake of the party. So no matter what, it's always someone else's fault. Well America, there you go...

    September 24, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. New Day

    can we have a poll to see what percentage of Americans are sick of these meaningless polls? I love how supposed experts hang on the opinions of circus clowns who don't know anything about the economy, politics, history, healthcare, etc etc, yet feel qualified to give an opinion about these topics as if they were being asked their favorite brand of beef jerky.

    CNN, please post.

    September 24, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Ula Nejad- Sacramento, Ca

    Hahaa..just like everything else. Embarrasing to say the least.

    September 24, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Funny, they never asked THIS new yorker. Let's get Cuomo in there, I never voted for Patterson and haven't been wild about where is priorities lie. DO NOT WANT GULIANI

    September 24, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Nancy

    President Obama can say what he wants within his rights, and more so give his opinion on the New York issues. He is the president of the USA, New York included. Telling him to butt out shows how shallow someone can be. I support our president and his opinions!

    September 24, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. kellygreen

    this NY'er says everyone should calm down. Obama is free to make his feelings known and Paterson is free to run if he wants.

    Obama is the BEST think to happen to this country in YEARS!

    Paterson is doing fine. I would vote for him if he runs. Its the NY state senate that needs to be wiped out and replaced.

    Oh and Peter King can go take a hike

    September 24, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Mark

    Obama wants to be a lot of places he has no business being.

    September 24, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. bess

    that's the problem with Micro-Manager's, they butt their nose into everything, especially places where they don't belong... however, in the world of Chicago thug-style politics Obama's just doing business as usual. Get used to it New York – and America.

    September 24, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Debra R

    Gee, ya think? Doesn't he have enough to do like showing up on Letterman? Since he is asking Patterson to not run again, does that make him a racist?

    September 24, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. diridi

    pres.obama needs to concentrate on fixing health care with public option..than any thing else....even sending troops to Afganistan is a wast of money....we need to have strong immigration, and boarder petrol......in the nation...first pass this needed heatlh care with public option....

    September 24, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    @Rep. Dan Maffei this is my freshman congressman, so far he is holding a new record for the most amount of money collected for re-election in the history of this great nation. He has spent his entire time in congress with his hands and pockets wide open to anybody accepting money, gifts and favors from the lobbyists, special interest groups, PACs, Wall Street, Banks, global Corporations, auto industry and unions. The last thing on his mind is “We the People”. So natually he thinks that only Washington and the White House knows what is best for us lowly serfs living here in CNY.
    See you in Nov. 2010 Dan, you may have 650 plus million in your war chest, but it will do you no good, go back to work for Charlie Rangle, if he can keep his job.
    The time of nobility rule is coming to an end. In the words of William Wallace " Freedom" !!!

    September 24, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. mike

    The rest of America feels your pain, New York.

    September 24, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Deborah R.

    This forum uses negative commentary about our President to entice readers to read articles. The issue of David Paterson not being a strong enough candidate to win the election has little to do with any one's opinion (White House or otherwise). I think it is sad that the highlight link on the main site uses misleading negative language about the President in order to entice people to read this article.

    September 24, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. jason S

    So let me get this straight... (and I am speaking as a New Yorker)... A majority of the residents of New York (Dems and Reps) think that David Patterson has not been a good or effective governor since taking over for Elliot Spitzer. However, now that Obama has voiced his opinion, because if Patterson ran he would most likely lose and there would be one less Democratic Governor in the nation, all these fellow New Yorkers are up in arms because they do not want to be told what to do... really? Get over it, and understand the larger picture...

    September 24, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. BrianMEMPHIS

    Control, control control....the Big O wants the government to have more control...

    O*Bots going to complain? Naw they want O in their lives.

    Republicans only comment please. There the ones who have stood up against this guy.

    September 24, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    Oh But Why Should Obama Butt Out. Obama is the savior of America. Dont you see all the jobs Obama has made? Dont you see all the tax decrerases Obama has made? Dont you see all the savings to the deficit that Obama has created. Just ask Obama, he will tell you how great he is. Oh Yes Obama is the Savior, just ask him.

    Brought to you by The Obama Socialistic Republic of NON-America.

    September 24, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Kate

    We have a very power-hungry Washington government who want to take our freedoms and make us dependent. There has never been such a grab for power and I fear for the future of our country.

    September 24, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Idiot_Pelosi

    Way to go New Yorkers, regardless of who you end up voting for GOV.

    OBUMMER needs to keep his BIG BUTT out.

    This arrogant fool believes he needs to constantly be at the center of attention.

    September 24, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Bill

    Obama doesn't know how to butt out.

    September 24, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. J.P.

    Wow, *THAT* is not a good sign for His Highness when even NEW YORKERS are telling Obama he's overstepping his bounds.

    2010 is shaping up to be an electoral bloodbath of such scale that 1994 will look like smacking a mosquito in comparison.

    September 24, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. Jeanette

    I'm a registered Democrat in NY. Governor Patterson is unintelligent. He comes across as not knowing the issue and if he ran for governor I'd vote Republican for the first time in my life. His first mistake is the appointment he made for Senator Clintons seat. I believe this poll asked mostly Republicans the was claiming to be Democrats. Paterson is a laughing stock and he could never win the Government race for NY and it's not because he blind but because he a idiot.

    September 24, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. AJ

    I'm a democrat but don't think this speaks well of Obama's leadership skills.

    September 24, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Phillip Post

    Six out of 10 NYers are correct. But, didn't those same 6 (out of 10) put that person into the White House? Sorry, but you gets what you pays for, don'cha know?

    September 24, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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