NEW YORK – Voters in New York state are divided on whether Caroline Kennedy should serve as their next senator, and she has work to do to win over more conservative rural voters, a new poll found Tuesday.
The daughter of assassinated president John F. Kennedy is eyeing the Senate seat that Hillary Clinton is giving up to become secretary of state.
The Quinnipiac University survey found 41 percent of state voters thought Kennedy was not qualified to be a senator, while 40 percent said she was qualified.
Forty-eight percent of those asked, however, expected that Gov. David Paterson will name her to the Senate seat.
"Among New Yorkers in general, Caroline Kennedy's grade is just OK," said Maurice Carroll, director of Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute.
"Ask the question two ways: Should the governor appoint Ms. Kennedy? New Yorkers give her a narrow lead over Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Will he appoint her? Heavily, the answer is 'yes.'"
Thirty-three percent of voters said Paterson should name Kennedy to the seat, while 29 percent preferred Cuomo.
Kennedy leads Cuomo 42 percent to 27 percent among overwhelmingly liberal New York City voters and ties Cuomo at 30 percent in the suburbs.
Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, leads 31 percent to 27 percent in conservative, upstate districts of New York where many Republicans are found, an area Clinton courted during her two Senate election races.
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