December 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
14 years ago

New Yorkers split on Caroline Kennedy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Caroline Kennedy looked on as her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, made an appearance at the Democratic convention in August of this year."]
(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.

Whomever Paterson names to the seat will have to run in a special election in November 2010 - and if they win that contest, will have to run again in 2012 when Clinton's current senate term ends.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted December 17-21, with 834 registered New York State voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • Polls
soundoff (102 Responses)

    Nobody is ASKING the same questions about the qualification of Andrew Cuomo; even though he is the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and not much is well known about where he stands on crucial political issues and priorities....Not even the rightwing NUTS!

    It's sexism when it's Hillary Clinton and Sarah Pain-Lin, but for Caroline Kennedy, because she is an Obama supporter and for being a Kennedy, it's cronyism and entitlement!

    PUHLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE! Ms. Caroline Kennedy is waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than qualified to be the next senator from New York; more than Cuomo, Hillary combined.

    She is not only stepping out to serve the people of New York during this most difficult and trying times; she has done so much for education and civil rights issues far more than anyone who is vying for the senate seat!

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander!!!! –

    Call Gov. David Paterson to elect Caroline Kennedy as senator from NY NOW!

    December 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. gallagher

    Caroline Kennedy meets the qualifications as established in the Constitution. She's also educated, dedicated, bright–I am sure she'd do a good job. She is far better prepared for this role than others who have held senate seats. I support her.

    December 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. JM

    If Caroline wants the seat so bad, she should run for it in the 2010 election not trade on daddy's name and expect it to be handed to her. Atleast then people would respect her more.

    December 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Chris Prial

    I don't trust any Kennedy being elected– anyone else question Paterson's motives? Plus why should you make it a priority to elect an individual that is the same sex as the person who previously held the position?

    December 23, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Steve

    We learn today that she will not divulge her finances and submit to typical investigation. Now by law she does not have to do this. However in the interest of transparency and given the fact if appointed, May 15 of each year, these disclosures are required.

    I guess a case of of " let them eat cake " mentality.

    December 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    8 years ago I started to work for my parents. I now run the company, but when I started I was a mail room clerk. I worked my way up working with %80 of our employees and in turn gaining the respect of those I worked with. Being the owners son I had to work three times as hard as anyone to get the same respect. I worked 55-60 hours a week. It paid off as I now have control of the company and have been increasing our profits. The point is that no mater what, if she dose not work her way up through the ranks many will never have any respect for her.

    December 23, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Ruth

    Caroline Kennedy is just as qualified to be senator as Hillary Clinton was when she became senator. So shut up about her not being qualified. Look at most senators and you will them NOT qualified.

    December 23, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. zero qualifications

    so your entitled because your name is kennedy??

    December 23, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Because she has not voted

    It does makes sense that she want to be appointed, but not be elected by the people. She does not believe election that's why she has not voted many of elections. We don't need someone who doesn't care our vote/voice. So, I don't care her sweet name.

    She has such a great script to be the first female president.
    Now, I really understand why she endorses Obama, but not Clinton.

    December 23, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. proud army and navy mom

    Caroline Kennedy is a fine, intelligent, thoughtful human being who if appointed will do an excellent job as Senator.

    Who cares if she maybe hasn't voted in every election, maybe she was disappointed with her choices. I can definitely understand that.

    December 23, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Hillary Clinton Supporter

    Message to Caroline: I know Hillary Clinton. She is a friend of mine. You, ma'am, are no Hillary Clinton.

    December 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. therealist

    Kennedy will win because no one can match her offer..

    December 23, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Debby

    Let her run for the seat when it comes up instead of getting it handed to her.

    December 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. MeH82

    If Her Last Name was not Kennedy would she be a legitimate canidate for that Senate Seat? If Ms. Kennedy wants to be in the Senate Let her Run for the Seat in the next election... But for the Govenor to appointe her just for her name is Folly...

    December 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Polly

    What does she have to offer and what are her intentions? I think she just wants to join the "party." Can we get serious? God, these people are making me sick.

    December 23, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Disappointed

    Got to agree with AJ. ("[Kennedy] has done nothing in her life to merit being appointed to the Senate but believes she is qualified because she is a Kennedy.") One can argue whether Hillary Clinton had prior experience, but at least she took her "get to know you" tour and faced the voters. Carolyn Kennedy's only claim on the office seems to be that she wants it and that it should be hers because she wants it. I am as liberal a Democrat as they come, but I see no reason that Gov. Patterson should appoint her when there are plenty of good candidates who have put in their time and faced the voters.

    December 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Illinois 2

    Why wpould yhe Gov. of New York hand over such a powerful position to anyone that has not proven to have been through the process of a campaign tp prove their worth or not to the voters, especially just because of who they are and not if they are in fact qualified for such an important position. The votes cast by members of congress affect all of the country, not just New York, or for that matter the Illinois senate seat of Obama.

    December 23, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. ran

    It is simple she would be a real peoples' senator. Why do we always have to over analyze everything. She has shown over the years she cares about the people of New York and all over the world. If she proves not to be any good then vote her out in 2 yrs. I think she will be as good if not better then her Uncle Ted in representing the people. Give her the chance to prove it. If we gave Bush 8 yrs we can at least give her 2 yrs.

    December 23, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Escape from N.Y

    Lets just build a fence around it and not let them out.

    December 23, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Soccer Nana

    Kristy wrote: ". . . . . . . It looks like quid pro quo for Caroline Kennedy to be given the seat when she endorsed Obama. . . . . . . "

    When Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama for president, there was no way anyone knew he would be the winner; no one knew Obama would choose Hilliary Clinton to be the Secretar of State after he won. Your comment is as untrue as you are significant.

    @rachel, you can vote when and if you want to. Could be she didn't like any of the candidates.

    The Kennedy's aren't going anywhere; get used to it.

    Caroline is just as qualified as the others on the "short list" to replace Hillary.

    Stop hating her simply because she is a Kennedy.

    December 23, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    I have no issue with Ms. Kennedy's qualifications for Senator.
    My issue is who she will represent? Do we need another ultra elite snob going to Congress, who has never had the privilege (That 95 % of the American Citizen has experienced in their lifetime) of being unemployed, homeless, hungry, and hopeless.
    The Citizens of NYS need a person who truly knows what it is like to try and survive in a state where nearly 60 % of our gross incomes goes to taxes, and job security has been lost.
    We need a senator who will serve us, not the other way around.

    December 23, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Caroline Kennedy is more qualified to be a senator than Sarah Palin is qualified to be governor. Caroline is an attorney and knows constitutional law and is politically qualified. Can't say the same for Palin and the Repubs had the nerve to have her run as VP which proved to be a total disaster. The Republicans are running scared of Caroline Kennedy and that's all the more reason she should be senator.

    December 23, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. demwit

    NY expects a well connected Washington insider.., the individual peronality behind it is irrelevent.

    December 23, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. J.P.

    No more Bush!
    No more Clinton!
    And certainly, NO MORE KENNEDYS!

    December 23, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Kennedy


    I will throw them at you. Your joke that Caroline Kennedy is more quolified than HRC and Cuomo combined is the funnuest thing I heard this year. You got "commedy central" !!

    December 23, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
1 2 3 4 5