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. Ace

    I certainly hope New Yorkers will object to national politicians who campaign on behalf of the their local candidates. After all, such behavior would also be defined as meddling, at least by the opposing candidates.

    September 24, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. midwest liberal

    Even as much of an Obama supporter and fan as I am, I must agree with New Yorkers on this one. There are bigger fish to fry right now.

    September 24, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Jimmy

    Butt out of our lives too Obama!! We don't need the government telling us what to do.

    September 24, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    I think CNN and their media friends should ask Robert Gibbs or Obama or maybe Jimmy Carter if these feeling of NY'ers is fueled by racism against our President.

    September 24, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. lila

    So all the republicans want Obama to butt out so that they will win. And the 33% of democrats that think Gov. David Paterson is doing a good job think it's not cool for Obama to suggest that David Patterson think about his party before himself. Somehow the numbers fail to shock me.

    September 24, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Let's see, New York has a Governor they didn't elect and a Senator they didn't elect. I guess it shouldn't be their decision this time either. It appears that the only thing democratic about the Democratic Party is their name.

    September 24, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. page

    His (Oboma) nose is into you name it and he is there!!!! He is not a President he is a soon to be ?????

    I know you will not print this but helps to scream get out of our FACE Oboma...

    September 24, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Jacob

    I support Obama, I voted for Obama, but yes, he needs to butt out!

    Gov Patterson is more than making up for O's promise to the NY LGBT community! He could learn something from him!

    September 24, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. David from Southern Illinois

    I'm an Obama supporter and even I agree....the White House should butt out.

    September 24, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Kathy

    I take exception to the title of this article. It's disrespectful and possibly inaccurate to state the New Yorkers '...say White House should 'butt out'". Was the Marist poll truly worded like that? "Do you think the White House should 'butt out'? I'd be very surprised if it was.

    I noted a similar tone in the title of a recent Christiane Amanpour story which said something to the effect of "Obama 'confused' about Iran". While she DID use that word in her article, she added that everyone is confused about Iran. The title is misleading, and leaves a negative impression of the President.

    Your editors should not be turning headlines into editorial comment.

    September 24, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Shari, NY

    I get the hunch that this was leaked and the press ran with it. Some people feel that because of Mr. Patterson's poor ratings, (Rep) Guiliani might try to muscle his way in and that's not what the W.H. wants.

    September 24, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Bj

    OBama once again making a fool of himself.

    September 24, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Garret

    that's funny coming from the same state that didn't particularly care for patterson being governor.

    by the way, CNN, you seriously have nothing important to report about. you are degrading yourself to nothing but polls and by this time you (CNN) should realize that all polls aren't true and accurate

    September 24, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Jason

    Obama's apparently got the message. He's a one term president.

    September 24, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Meh

    What's funny about these polls is that they don't normally poll people w. cell phones, just land lines. Who has land lines still and is home during the day when pollers call? Elderly people! Who are generally Republican. Come on, now.

    September 24, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Agree. Butt out Obummer

    September 24, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Kevin - Albany, NY

    Despite the poll, many of us in NY were glad to hear somebody ask Paterson to forgo a run in 2010. Of course NY Repulicans, like Pataki, thought the President should stay out of the state's affairs, because they know Paterson will be a weak candidate, so they want him to run and lose.

    September 24, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Justsomeguy

    ....isnt he the leader of the entire country? So technically, he is responsible for that state.... so thats like a teenager telling a parent to stay out of their room even though its the Parents house.... ahhhh.. kids will be kids.... grow up.

    September 24, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Kevin - Albany, NY

    Despite the poll, many of us in NY were glad to hear somebody ask Paterson to forgo a run in 2010. Of course NY Republicans, like Pataki, thought the President should stay out of the state's affairs, because they know Paterson will be a weak candidate, so they want him to run and lose.

    September 24, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Jobs Jobs Jobs

    How about Obama fulfill promise, from the 1 trillion "can't wait" stimulus bill passage, of 4 million jobs by the end of summer and stay out of Governor races, tv show appearances etc.

    They only network Obama has failed to appear on is the Food Channel and I am waiting for Paula Deen to call him out to help her bake a pie.

    September 24, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Costello Mosley

    Yes, Patterson should not run. He brought as much dirty laundry and his wife as the formal Governor almost. Plus that women he put in office from upstate. I would not vote for him.

    September 24, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Classy 57

    The president has all he can do to keep up with his social dates with his wife, his homework with his kids, his school appointments and speech reviews and TV appearances. I see no reason why he would involve himself in the politics of any particular state in the union. Thank you very much.

    September 24, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    Why would republicans have an opinion on Obama talking to a Democratic candidate about whether to run or not? That makes no sense.

    September 24, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Marilyn T Vaughn

    He is the President of the Unitrd States he can butt anywhere he wants to.

    September 24, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Rob

    Obama's screwing up everything else, why should New York be so lucky to be excluded?

    September 24, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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