September 24th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
9 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. Patricia Dickson

    what america People needs is the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives and then this Country will be a better place, because God is love we the people fight and devour one another to much we dont have any love i don't understand since Mr Obama get the President every one want to tell him what to do why didn't they ran for the office, i don't see where mrPatterson can win and i think the white house is right because they can't afford to lose the seat in new york not all i think mr Cuomo would be a better person for the job.

    September 24, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Me Down South

    Aww, shut up folks. He can do what he wants.

    September 24, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Grrr-awful-o

    Obama knows what's best for New York and the country. Why don't you all just pipe down and let him run things. We love you, Obama!

    September 24, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. tiff of Lithia Springs

    Love Obama,

    But we need the Feds involvement in Georgia's affairs. The insurance companies are not going to do the right thing so we will have to request fema money.

    September 24, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I like President Obama, but definitely think it is wrong for anyone from the White House to suggest that the current governor not run for re-election. We have voters that will decide who will run or not run. New Yorkers stand firm.


    September 24, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. nj

    cnn makes me sick with these polls, get a life

    September 24, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. nj

    who are u polling, republicans and conservatives, that is not the whole state

    September 24, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. justiceforall

    Sometimes, too much transparency, politics are just that and everyone can't be politicians, nor should they.

    September 24, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Kent

    Oh shut-up....Bush and his cohorts got invoved very chance they could. Republicans always see it differently when it's not them.

    September 24, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Sierra

    Oh please. I haven't heard a single New Yorker say anything about this matter. Should I say, in before people from all over the country wank about New Yorkers? I'm sure I'm too late for that, anyway.

    September 24, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Todd

    Just goes to show how far Obama will go to push his extremist left agenda.

    September 24, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    As a native New Yorker, I don't think it's in the state's best interest to keep him as governor. If Giuliani is running, Patterson doesn't stand a chance. Whereas if Cuomo was running, I think Giuliani wouldn't even run because New Yorkers like the Cuomo name better than the Giuliani one.

    September 24, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Carnell From Detroit, MI USA

    Oh Please! Its Obvious You Fools At CNN Doing These Repugnant And Monotananous Polls Have Too Much Time On Your Hands.

    September 24, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. tisgoogle

    No one knows if this is true if President Obama has requested this from
    Gov Paterson! Get off the President's back!

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

    Obviously those saying Obama should but out are racists. What other explanation can there be? This is yet another example of the fair and wise Obama gracing us peons with his wonderful opinions, and all that happens is the racism comes to the surface. Why cant all Americans just worship the Obamassiah like they should?

    September 24, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Eddie B.

    He is the President and head of the Democratic party. Of course he should advise on local elections for what is good for the party. Ask those same New Yorkers would they vote for Patterson and the overwhelming majority would say "no".

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

    My, my, the lovefest is over

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

    Butt out??? Obama doesn't know the meaning of that. He needs to be at the center of attention at all times.

    September 24, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Boob McNutt

    Hmm, it was advice, not an order, but Paterson seems to be a less than stellar governor. We can hear people making fun of him way down here in Georgia.

    September 24, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. barb

    Is there a poll that will indicate how many people always tell the truth. Catch me on a bad day and you can bet that I will NOT give the same answers as on the good day. And to be honest I HATE POLLS!

    Polls are nothing but tools. Tools to get attention to a group's rants and causes.

    September 24, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. John from LA

    Absolutely!!!-Stay in DC- not wanted or needed in NYS!!!!!!

    September 24, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Jeff

    President Obama, who is head of the Democratic Party, had every right to suggest privately to Gov Patterson that he pull out of the race for

    Patterson's poll numbers are terrible and he will not be able to raise
    enough money to campaign successfully against Rudy Giuliani.

    All Obama did is give Cuomo permission to enter the race, without the
    risk that the black community will be angered.

    Patterson is not cut out to be a leader, much less Governor of New York State, and he should remove himself.

    September 24, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. obummer, 1 and done

    Get used to it america.

    Everyday with obummer in charge you lose a little more freedom.

    September 24, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Wombat

    How can anyone conceivably expect Obama to stay out of anything? The narcissist thinks himself emperor of the planet . There is virtually nothing on which he is not willing to advise or instruct. Nor is there any camera or talk show on which he will not appear. For such an intelligent and well spoken man to spend himself on all manner of relatively trivial and often unseemly issues is very, very disappointing.

    September 24, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Beth

    How the White House will neither "confirm or deny"....flip flop..flip flop...

    September 24, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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