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. KEL

    This is the way of politics; Patterson did not run for the top spot and has not done a good job while there so he need to hear all sides

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

    I'm sure they will wished they would have listened to the President when they end up with a Republican Governor........there is a reason they suggested Paterson not run......he wont hold up to the scruitny a state wide election brings.......trust me & write it down....Paterson will be butchered by the Republicans......the call girl lover whatever his name was will hold up to scruitny better than Paterson.

    September 24, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. mobe

    Don't think it really much matters. Patterson will have a hard time anyway with getting support for his reelection bid. His favorable rating is the lowest of any NYS governor. Just like Palin he was not up to the job.

    September 24, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. stevie in vt

    hey, New York..............you helped elect him so remember that

    he can do anything he wants

    take note and let this be a lesson to you

    wait until he forces you out of your health care

    then just wait until he needs tax money, he will seduce you and then reach up your shirt then squeeze your nipple until it turns purple

    I did not vote for this guy......its not my fault.............McCain was not an alternative either

    September 24, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Swampfox

    How dare you New Yorkers question "the one".

    September 24, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. chelle

    Unless of course Patterson was popular and Obama was showing up to support him. Then it is okay to be there. This Democratic governor is at 18% for heavens sake!!!! Time to throw in the towel. Rightly or wrongly, the constituents of New York State do not approve of your governorship. Help the party out and bow out.

    September 24, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. inofritzn

    There seems to be a pattern with this administration "meddling". It's scary when all of the things they are meddling in are added up. Which is where a lot of our fears come into play.. It's not just healtcare or auto makers or stimulus or local politics it's all of them piling on. Where does it stop?

    September 24, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Mic

    It is beyond the White House thinking they can't butt out. Our governer will say they havn't tried to talk me out of running. Yet we will know that's not true. Obama and he people as we know are already Lairs on some of the issue's. Obama just wants to place a YES MAN in a state he will need soon again.

    September 24, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Barbara Independent in NY

    As a life long New Yorker, I don't care if the White House butts in or not. If the Governor doesn't realize that he will lose the next election, nothing that anyone else says will help. I'm not voting for Patterson and if the Republicans nominate Guiliani, I won't be voting period.

    September 24, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Brain Dead in Ohio

    Hurry GOP, throw some more dirt on that mole hill. Get to it before this semi-scandal fades and we again notice the horrible blight of "Family Values" fedelity!

    September 24, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Bed time for Raygun

    It may be their State,but its everyones party.Patterson was put in his role so he wouldnt see what was going on.He doesnt have a chance at reelection and should wakeup and smell the coffee.

    September 24, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Jesus Francisco

    Huh? ... ""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"

    September 24, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. John Canada

    He is the Messiah he can do whatever he pleases. This guy you have down there in America is one of the most arrogant , self-centered Presidents I have seen in my time. I never thought I would say this so soon but Canada and I think alot of America no matter how bad they treated him would take Bush over the guy you have now. He is a weak weak president you have down there in America.

    September 24, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    Patterson's approval rating is hovering in the Dick Cheney range (20%) what on earth would make the man think he can win a statewide re-election???

    September 24, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. single mom

    Wow.
    Now the Obama Administration has ticked off New Yorkers.
    Either Paterson will win in a landslide or most if not all Dems in New York will lose.

    September 24, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Mary Garrett

    Really? How surprising that Republicans and Independents do not agree with our president!

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

    Wait, wait, wait, wait... what im starting to realize, once a giant step has been taken back and the current political landscape is scene from a distance and as a whole, is that Americans are truly CONFUSED.
    They want Obama to FIX EVERYTHING, yet complain he either doesnt do it fast enough, or is doing it too quickly, or they want the whitehouse out of their business or the whitehouse hasnt done enough.
    Regardless, Obama has done what he can with what he has. Im honestly convinced he will be criticized even as he someday packs up and exits the oval office. American expectations of him are beyond realistic, all the while, he is being set up to fail. Maybe he should just start taking vacations more often like his predecessor...

    September 24, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. R.C.C. TEXAS

    Sorry but he's the President and you didn't tell Bush to butt out...So take it and shut up!

    September 24, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Tash

    America Needs to tell OBAMA to not run in 2012, we are sick of him.

    September 24, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Fed Up

    And why do New Yorkers think he will butt out? After all, he does own our manufacturing sectory, the banking industry, the insurance companies and many other things. Why would he not think he has the right to dictate what the states should do? Wake up folks! You have nothing left to say.

    September 24, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. janelle

    Sitting Presidents endorsing a candidate is commonplace, but thinking they have a say in who runs inthe first place is completely out of line and disrespectful.

    The bigger question is what is going on in New York that has residents split on their opinion of the President. New York has always been safe for Democrats. What few Republicans have ever won have been very liberal. Could this change of attitude be that New Yorkers have become disillusioned with the President? Could it be that New Yorkers are starting to doubt the policies of the President?

    September 24, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. jbird

    A college that runs a poll on 616 people that just happened to be home when they called and then generalizes the results across the entire state of New York should not be doing polls! Marist College should be hiding their head in shame for their complete lack of understanding of the process of running a legitimate poll or was their real goal a political one. This says more about Marist College than it does about the good people of New York State!!

    September 24, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Simmy

    Gov. Paterson should be thanking President Obama......For once he's getting some attention.....Mrs. Paterson should chill......It's not about the first anything....Stop trying to reverse the race issue for the sake of making a case for a non-effective Gov.....

    September 24, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice... err...

    New Yorkers are very well within their rights to feel that the President should not interfere in their state affairs. Governor Patterson is also very well within his rights to feel offended. However, to think that the President is not going to feel some concern about the outcome of an election in a state as big and important to the Dems as New York would be naive. Let's not forget that the election may not only yield the governors seat to the Republicans, but also Hillary Clinton's seat when Kirsten Gillibrand comes up for election. They WH needs to handle matters like this a little more carefully.

    September 24, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Deb (long island)

    I am a New Yorker and I think Governor Patterson should step aside for the good of the party. I was excited when he took office but his performance and the lack of respect his House of Representative have shown him leads me to believe he is a weak leader. We need a strong democrat to reinforce that we stay in power.

    September 24, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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