January 26, 2009 - More Voters Blame Kennedy For Failed Senate Bid, Quinnipiac University New York State Poll Finds; Republicans Back Gillibrand More Than Democrats

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Caroline Kennedy and her aides are more to blame than Gov. David Paterson and his team for the controversy surrounding her failed bid for New York's U.S. Senate seat, voters say 49 - 15 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 12 percent blame both camps, while 24 percent are undecided.

New York State voters approve 46 - 30 percent, with 24 percent undecided, of Gov. Paterson's selection of Albany area U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand for the Senate seat, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Men approve 48 - 29 percent while women approve 44 - 31 percent. Republicans back the selection 56 - 27 percent, a wider margin than the 41 - 35 percent among Democrats. Independent voters back her 49 - 21 percent.

Upstate voters back the choice 55 - 25 percent, while suburban voters approve 35 - 32 percent and New York City voters approve 41 - 34 percent.

By a 25 - 10 percent margin, New York State voters have a favorable opinion of Gillibrand, but 63 percent say they don't know enough about her to make a decision. Her favorability upstate is 34 - 8 percent with 58 percent who don't know enough about her to decide.

"Blame for dithering over the choice of a U.S. Senator falls mostly on Caroline Kennedy. But there's an inside-baseball element in this - a lot of New Yorkers say they simply don't know who's at fault," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Kirsten who? Senator-to-be Kirsten Gillibrand is smart to instantly do let's-get- acquainted visits with black and Hispanic leaders. New Yorkers aren't unfriendly, but two-thirds of them don't know much about her.

"And as expected, the new Senator is more popular upstate than downstate."

While more New York State voters approve of Paterson's selection of Gillibrand, they split on their judgment of how he selected a new Senator, with 44 percent approving and 42 percent disapproving. Republicans approve 52 - 39 percent, while Democrats split 42 - 43 percent.

Paterson's overall approval stands at 50 - 30 percent, down from 53 - 25 percent in a January 15 Quinnipiac University poll. Paterson's approval among Republican voters is up, from 41 - 38 percent to 45 - 39 percent, while approval among Democrats is down from 62 - 18 percent to 54 - 24 percent.

"New Yorkers give Paterson a split decision on how he handled the Senate selection, despite the critical news coverage. He hurt himself among Democrats, while Republicans are liking him a little better these days," Carroll said.

Because of Gillibrand's pro-gun position and her backing by the National Rifle Assn., 36 percent of New York State voter, including 50 percent of Democrats, are less likely to vote for her when she runs for election next year, while 17 percent are more likely to vote for her. Another 41 percent say this doesn't make a difference.

"In the Congressional district she's represented, NRA support is a plus. Not state-wide," Carroll said.

From January 23 - 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,047 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and nationwide as a public service and for research.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              50%    45%    54%    53%    50%    50%
Disapprove           30     39     24     28     32     29
DK/NA                20     15     22     19     18     21
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              52%    43%    45%    55%    51%
Disapprove           31     36     35     26     29
DK/NA                17     21     20     19     20
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling his job as Governor?
                     Jan 26  Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17
                     2009    2009    2008    2008    2008    2008
                             
Approve              50      53      53      64      56      50
Disapprove           30      25      29      14      17      10
DK/NA                20      22      18      22      27      39
 
 
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Paterson handled the process of selecting a new United States senator to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              44%    52%    42%    43%    48%    41%
Disapprove           42     39     43     43     40     44
DK/NA                14      9     15     13     12     15
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              52%    48%    49%    47%    31%
Disapprove           31     38     36     42     53
DK/NA                17     15     15     11     15
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Paterson's selection of Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              46%    56%    41%    49%    48%    44%
Disapprove           30     27     35     21     29     31
DK/NA                24     17     24     30     23     25
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              61%    54%    55%    41%    35%
Disapprove           25     25     25     34     32
DK/NA                14     21     20     25     33
 
 
4. Is your opinion of Kirsten Gillibrand favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favorable            25%    30%    22%    28%    32%    20%
Unfavorable          10      7     11     10     10     11
Hvn't hrd enough     63     63     66     61     57     68
REFUSED               1      -      1      -      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Favorable            34%    34%    34%    19%    19%
Unfavorable           6      8      8     13     13
Hvn't hrd enough     60     57     58     67     68
REFUSED               -      1      1      1      1
 
 
5. Is your opinion of David Paterson favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favorable            48%    36%    57%    44%    49%    47%
Unfavorable          25     36     19     24     26     24
Hvn't hrd enough     24     25     22     27     23     25
REFUSED               3      2      2      5      2      3
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Favorable            49%    44%    45%    52%    48%
Unfavorable          20     29     27     23     25
Hvn't hrd enough     27     25     25     22     25
REFUSED               3      3      3      3      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of David Paterson favorable, unfavorable, or haven’t you heard enough about him?
                      
                     Jan 26  Mar 20 
                     2009    2008      
                                   
Favorable            48      46                            
Unfavorable          25       3                             
Hvn't hrd enough     24      51                             
REFUSED               3       -
 
 
6. Who do you blame for the controversy surrounding Caroline Kennedy's failed senate bid - Governor Paterson and his aides or Caroline Kennedy and her aides?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Paterson and aides   15%    11%    18%    16%    16%    14%
Kennedy and aides    49     63     42     54     52     47
BOTH (VOL)           12     11     11     11     13     11
DK/NA                24     16     30     20     20     28
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Paterson and aides   12%    13%    13%    18%    13%
Kennedy and aides    53     45     47     52     49
BOTH (VOL)           15     11     12     10     13
DK/NA                20     30     28     20     24
 
 
7. Does the fact that Kirsten Gillibrand is against gun control and that she is supported by the National Rifle Association make you more likely to vote for her for senator in 2010, less likely to vote for her, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
More likely          17%    30%     7%    22%    23%    13%
Less likely          36     16     50     24     32     38
Doesn't make diff    41     51     34     49     43     40
DK/NA                 6      3      8      4      2      9
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
More likely          16%    24%    22%    12%    15%
Less likely          26     26     26     44     40
Doesn't make diff    55     45     47     35     41
DK/NA                 3      5      5      8      4