(CNN) - A new poll suggests New Yorkers are split on whether Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be a U.S. Senator - but they still expect their state's governor will name her to replace Hillary Clinton when the secretary of state-designate steps down from her Senate seat.
Forty percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released today say that Kennedy is qualified to serve as a senator, with 41 percent saying no. The 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy is one of a dozen or so hoping to fill the seat being vacated by Clinton when she leaves to take her post in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.
But Kennedy is drawing more scrutiny than the other Senate hopefuls because she's a member of one of the country's most famous political families, because she's never run for office, and because not much is well known about where she stands on crucial political issues and priorities.
The poll also indicates that by a 48 percent to 25 percent margin, New Yorkers think Gov. David Paterson will name Kennedy to the seat. Kennedy and her allies have launched a strong lobbying effort to persuade Paterson that she's qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Asked their choice, 33 percent of those polled say Paterson should name Kennedy, with 29 percent backing New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Another four percent support congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand. Twenty-four percent want someone else and 10 percent are undecided.
(CNN) – Caroline Kennedy spoke publicly about her desire to fill Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat for a second consecutive day Thursday, meeting with the Rev. Al Sharpton for lunch in Harlem.
The activist praised Kennedy as a "unique candidate," but would not say whether he supports her Senate bid. "I will trust the government’s judgment to decide what’s best for the state, he told reporters. "I won’t get into that.”
Speaking after the meeting, Kennedy - who largely steered clear of partisan politics until this year - described herself as “a Kennedy Democrat, a Clinton Democrat, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama - I mean, these are all leaders whose values I share, and I feel like those are the kinds of values I would bring to this position.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declined Thursday to endorse Caroline Kennedy as Hillary Clinton’s successor, but added that he knows “exactly” who should be the next senator to represent his state.
But he wouldn’t give a name.
Bloomberg did praise Kennedy saying that “she’s very competent” and “she’s done a lot for New York City,” but added that he is not in the position to publicly endorse any prospective replacement for Clinton, who is President-elect Barack Obama’s designate for Secretary of State.
“I should stay out of the race, personally,” Bloomberg said during an appearance on ABC’s ‘The View.’
“It’s not my call. If it were my call to pick somebody, I know exactly …,” added Bloomberg, who was immediately asked “Would you pick her?”
“I can’t tell you, because then I’d be getting involved,” Bloomberg responded.
Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor, is supporting Kennedy’s bid to be appointed to the seat by New York Gov. David Paterson.
Bloomberg also noted that Paterson is “lucky to have a number of different candidates” to consider for the seat.
–CNN Producer Shirley Zilberstein contributed to this report.
(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy is on a public campaign for Sen. Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, which may make it difficult for New York Gov. David Paterson not to send President John F. Kennedy's only living child to Washington.
While she has to win over only one voter - Paterson - Kennedy essentially began a political campaign for the seat, which was once held by her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, with a visit to upstate New York on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, Kennedy meet with civil rights activist Al Sharpton, an influence in national and New York politics.
(CNN) - A new poll out Wednesday suggests there is no clear favorite among New Yorkers on who they think should replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate - and despite the buzz over Caroline Kennedy, the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat is not necessarily hers for the taking.
According to a new survey from Siena College, 26 percent of New York voters and 30 percent of New York Democrats favor another potential pick with a famous last name - current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo, the son of former governor Mario Cuomo.
Some 23 percent of New York voters - and 28 percent of Democrats - want Kennedy to get the post. Nearly one in five preferred one of the othe Democrats often mentioned for the post, and another one in five had no preference for their next U.S. Senator.
The top two potential choices also have nearly identical favorability ratings - 58-21 percent for Kennedy and 59-24 percent for Cuomo.
"Both Kennedy and Cuomo have high name recognition among New Yorkers, and Cuomo has run for - and won - statewide office, which may help him marginally," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Since the poll was done before Kennedy's officially announced her interest in the Senate seat, it's possible her support today is a little higher than it was before her announcement. But ultimately, the choice will be made by the Governor, not the voters of New York."
But while New Yorkers may be roughly divided on who they think should be named to the post, 31 percent believe Gov. David Paterson will ultimately pick Kennedy compared to the 16 percent who say Cuomo will get it.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is backing Caroline Kennedy to replace Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton as the next senator from New York.
Watch: Reid on Kennedy
The majority leader told Nevada Political analyst Jon Ralston Tuesday that he personally called New York Gov. David Paterson urging him to appoint Kennedy to the seat.
“She's 52 years old,” Reid said in an interview on Ralston’s Nevada-based television show ‘Face-to-Face.’ “I've spoken to her. She was part of a vetting process for vice presidential choices for Obama. She's lived in government and politics her whole life. I think it would be a tremendous thing....We have a lot of stars from New York. Bobby Kennedy. Hillary Clinton. I think Caroline Kennedy would be perfect. “
When asked by Ralston if he planned on calling the governor, Reid answered, “I already have.”
A Reid spokesman confirms to CNN that the majority leader called Paterson last week expressing his support for Kennedy.
But even as Reid is supporting Kennedy for Senate, some Clinton supporters aren't so enthusiastic - including Rep. Anthony Weiner and Robert Zimmerman - a CNN contributor, DNC member and Clinton supporter.
(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has made it clear to high-level Democrats, including New York Gov. David Paterson, that she wants to be the next senator from New York, a source close to Kennedy has told CNN's John King.
Two other sources confirm her interest in filling the seat now held by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton. One source is a senior Democratic operative.
Kennedy's interest in the seat could mean the continuation of a family legacy in the Senate that began 56 years ago with the election of her father as the then-junior senator from Massachusetts.
Her uncle Ted has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1963. Her uncle Robert served as New York's junior senator from 1965 until he was assassinated in 1968.
"Remember, this (Clinton's) seat in the Senate was once held by Robert Kennedy," CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said. "Her other uncle, Ted Kennedy, is ill right now. If Paterson appoints Caroline Kennedy to the Senate, it means there could be a Kennedy staying in the Senate for quite a long time."
Before this year, Kennedy generally limited her forays into the public sphere to non-partisan activity, penning books on civil liberties and serving as the de facto guardian of her father's legacy.
But in January, she backed a political candidate for the first time, announcing her endorsement of Obama during the Democratic primary season with an op-ed in the New York Times that drew days of the kind of media attention she has spent her life avoiding.
"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she wrote. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president - not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."
"Apparently she has acquired a taste for politics," Schneider noted. "She wants to be part of this new regime in America, clearly playing a key role in the Senate if she gets that appointment."
– CNN's John King and Kate Bolduan, and Mark Preston contributed
to this report.
(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy, who spent most of her life looking to steer clear of the spotlight, is capping off a year of unusually public - and political - activity with interest in the Senate seat that would be vacated by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.
And her interest in that seat could mean the continuation of a Kennedy legacy in the Senate that began 56 years ago with the election of her father, John F. Kennedy, as the junior senator from Massachusetts.
Her uncle Edward has represented Massachusetts in the Senate for more than four decades. Her uncle Robert served as junior senator from New York from 1965 until he was assassinated in 1968.
"Remember, [Clinton's] seat in the Senate was once held by Robert Kennedy," CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said Saturday. "Her other uncle, Ted Kennedy, is ill right now. If [New York Gov. David] Paterson appoints Caroline Kennedy to the Senate, it means there could be a Kennedy staying in the Senate for quite a long time."
NEW YORK (CNN) – Caroline Kennedy has called New York Gov. David Paterson to ask about the Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton if she is confirmed as secretary of state in the new Barack Obama administration, Democratic sources tell CNN.
One Democratic source close to the Kennedy family confirmed that Kennedy has had conversations with Paterson and "is interested to say the least" about discussing the Senate vacancy. This source says Kennedy has asked a tight circle of other family friends and political advisers for advice.
A second source, who has knowledge of Kennedy's conversation with Paterson, tells CNN that Kennedy reached out to inquire about the responsibilities and impact such a move would have if she were selected by the governor to fill the position.
(CNN) - Could Caroline Kennedy, considered to be among the most private members of the Kennedy clan, be tapped to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat?
Kennedy - who endorsed Barack Obama in February before the Super Tuesday round of primaries - is said to be considering the possibility, according to an ABC News report.
New York Gov. David Paterson, the man tasked with picking Hillary Clinton's successor, is remaining mum on the process, but a spokesman for Barack Obama issued a statement in the wake of rumors the president-elect is quietly lobbying Patterson to choose Kennedy.
"President-elect Obama has a very high regard for Caroline Kennedy," said Obama spokesman Stephanie Cutter. "But he has not spoken with Governor Paterson or Caroline Kennedy about the race, and has no involvement in this process."
Earlier, similar rumors circulated that former President Bill Clinton might be interested in the job, but the former president's office quickly released a statement saying he was not interested.
Caroline Kennedy's cousin, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., was also discussed as a potential successor, but formally took his name out of the running earlier this week.
Paterson still has a strong bench to choose from. There are a number of contenders, including several members of New York's delegation in the House of Representatives, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi.
Whoever is chosen would have to be ready for virtually non-stop campaigning and fundraising over the next four years. Clinton's successor will face a hotly-contested campaign in 2010 to fill out the remainder of her term, then a re-election bid jut two years later.