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. minnie

    If Obama keeps his nose in things that do not concern him, maybe he won't have time to mess up Washington, and congress.

    September 24, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. WB

    I'm a new yorker and I agree with the president!!!! Paterson needs to go!!!! We pay too many taxes and he wants more.

    September 24, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Michael Templer

    maybe the White House should focus on getting a health Bill out of the Senate Stall i mean Finance committee. Living in western New York it is for the most part a democratic state but the will turn to Republicans to put things in order and let's face it they are not in order there. Lazio really?

    why not Bloomberg

    Gillenbrand not looking good either

    September 24, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. jfz

    Obama's just another run of the mill, hated, LOBBYIST.
    The very kind he campaigned to do away with (CHANGE voters HOPEd for).

    September 24, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Why should President Obama confirm or deny a report that President Barack Obama urged Paterson not to seek a full term in 2010. But nobody think like I do. This is a TRICK.!!!!!! Gov Paterson is so low in the polling, some people mite vote for him again just because they are mad and they think President told him not to run again and you know some feel about My President Obama.

    September 24, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Kate

    Obama is always butting in where he doesn't belong – can you imagine the ego the man must have to think he should be doing that? Obama needs to butt out! It might help if he would remember that he is not a dictator or a God and that not all of us are impressed by him.

    September 24, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. worriedmom

    Wow, it is nice to see that there are people who are sick and tired of Govt interference.

    September 24, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Ryan in VA

    I'm shocked.... I thought New York people loved them some Obama.

    September 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Matt from Richmond VA

    Apparently the people of New York are uniformed as to the fact that being a Democrat and President of the United States, President Obama is head of the Democratic Party and trying to do what is best for the party is his business. Besides if Patterson's approval rating is in the teens I don't understand why they want the President to "butt out" because it is apparent the people of New York don't want Paterson to run either.

    September 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Old Farmboy

    You gotta love the general consensus. I've been saying that for years.

    September 24, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. sir magneto

    Quite clearly Patterson is between Barack and a hard place. If only Spitzer could keep his pants on.

    September 24, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Dar

    He just can't stand to keep his mouth shut about things that shouldn't concern him. IM suprised that as the former lawyer for ACORN he isn't advising them what to do either. (Or is he through differant channels, hummmmm)
    God Bless All

    September 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Trudi

    Before the "Obama haters" start to spew their nasty comments about the President and the Democrats...I must admit that as a New Yorker who supports President Obama, he should not haven gotten involved with Paterson's decision to run for re-election. But as President Obama pointed out, not everything he does will everyone agree with him. Paterson has every right to run for office and to have the people of New York decide whether or not he goes back into office. Unfortunately for Paterson, he won't be able to count on my vote and contrary to what many Obama bashers might say, the President did not influence my decision.

    .

    September 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Brain Dead in Ohio

    New Yorkers also say "forgedaboudit," whilst playing hopscotch over bums.

    Be careful conservatives, the very "elites" you love to hate may just be siding with you on this one. This non-news item designed as a headline patsy. You know the drill...

    September 24, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Lydia

    As the leader of the Democratic party, the president has every right to make such a decision and act in the best interests of the party. It is obvious from the poll numbers that Governor Patterson cannot win reelection. It makes no sense, therefore, for him to run in an election he cannot win.

    If New York is a state that has a run-off election and Patterson is pitted in a primary against another Democrat, then he should run. However, if New York does not have a primary contest, for Patterson to run against a Republican when disdain for Patterson is so strong, then he absolutely should not run because the odds against him winning are too strong.

    September 24, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Scoobydob

    President Obama is the head of the national party and if he feels the need to have input in relation to the national picture then it is appropriate for him to do so.

    September 24, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Truth Hurts

    Bush meddled in everything business from state to country and there was nothing said by media or some Americans. Meddling in Iraq, got us this expensive war!!!

    September 24, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Julie, NY

    First of all, how do we know it's true? It was a rumor, and secondly if it is true, the governor does not have to listen to the White House.

    Move on people, there is no store here.

    September 24, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. stormerF

    Oh No! the White House wants to have complete say,to who gets the New York Governor seat.What they want is a socialist state like Massachuetts has become,where they change the laws to fit one party politics.

    September 24, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. victim of republican greed

    Real New Yorkers would have said it differently.

    September 24, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. andy

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion. he didn't force him to do anything.

    September 24, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. ItIsMe

    As someone who supports and who voted for President Obama, Mr. President, what are you doing? What are you thinking?

    I am quite certain that there are more pressing issues that he should be dealing with. This was a pretty DUMB thing to do...

    September 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Citizen

    When are politicians going to learn that is angers people when they try to effect the outcome of elections. Of all people Obama should know it since so many people got angry when some Democrats were suggesting Hillary drop out of the race. Let the voters decide and keep out of it!!!

    September 24, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Dem in AZ

    I am a big fan of Pres. Obama but I think he should leave that up to the poeple of NY on who is going to be the next Governor

    September 24, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Chut Pata

    So the New Yorkers think NY is not part of the USA and therefore the president of USA has no business in the welfare of the NY.

    Fair enough. Next time NY faces a disaster, White House should look the other way and tell NY to come up with their own army.

    September 24, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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