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More People Think Clinton Is Hiding Something In Whitewater

[Hiding something?]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 30) -- In the wake of this week's guilty verdicts in Little Rock, more Americans believe President Bill Clinton is hiding something in the Whitewater controversy, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

Sixty percent of those surveyed say they think Clinton is hiding something regarding his role in Whitewater, compared to 51 percent in a similar poll in July 1995.

A bare majority -- 51 percent -- believe Clinton's statements about Whitewater have been completely true or mostly true, while 38 percent think they have been mostly false or completely false. Eleven percent have no opinion. Last year, 59 percent thought the president's statements had been completely or mostly true.

The new poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, surveyed 1,019 adults, including 838 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points for all people and +/- 4 percentage points for registered voters.

[Bill Clinton truthful?]

The Whitewater verdicts appear to have had little effect on Clinton's lead over Republican Sen. Robert Dole in the presidential race.

If the election were held today, 56 percent of those surveyed say they would vote for Clinton, to 40 percent for Dole. Earlier this month, a similar poll gave Clinton a 58-38 percent lead.

The Whitewater verdicts also have had a negligible effect on the public's overall opinion of Clinton. In mid-May, 60 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Clinton; that figure has essentially held steady, dropping by a single point to 59 percent today.

Clinton's job approval rating, currently at 53 percent, has dropped two points in that same time. The president remains more popular than either Dole or Texas businessman Ross Perot, a possible Reform Party candidate for president.

Other highlights of the new poll:

  • A slim majority -- 51 percent -- think Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against the president should proceed. Forty-five percent think the Supreme Court should postpone it until Clinton leaves office.

  • By a 48-43 percent margin, the public believes Dole and the Republicans have gone too far in criticizing the president. Only 34 percent think Clinton has gone too far in criticizing Dole.

  • Democrats may have seriously miscalculated with an ad that criticizes Dole for leaving the Senate to run for the White House. Only 14 percent of people in the survey describe Dole as a "quitter," while 73 percent praise him as a fighter.

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