For 2000, Powell's No. 1 With GOP Voters (2/21/97)
Gore's Poll Numbers Dip
Nearly half of Americans don't think he'd make a good president
By Keating Holland/CNN
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 14) -- Vice President Al Gore has not emerged unscathed from the spreading campaign finance controversy, according to a new CNN/TIME poll.
Nearly half of people surveyed -- 49 percent -- do not think Gore would make a good president, compared with the 39 percent who said they felt that way last October.
Six in ten say it was inappropriate for Gore to have made phone calls from the White House to ask for large campaign contributions.
Yet Gore's favorable rating, now at 56 percent, is almost the same as it was last December before the fund-raising controversy picked up much steam. Fifty-five percent approve of the way he is handling his job as vice president, 53 percent say Gore is honest and trustworthy, and only 11 percent say his fund-raising activities were illegal.
The poll was based on interviews with 1,018 people on March 11-12 and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points for the entire sample.
The public's view of White House fund-raising practices has grown slightly more negative in the past two weeks, but the controversy has had little impact on President Bill Clinton's overall standing. A majority now say the way Clinton raised and spent money for his campaign was corrupt, a slight gain over the number who felt that way in late February.
A majority also say the Clinton Administration acted irresponsibly in dealing with attempts by the Chinese government to influence the 1996 elections.
But the number of Americans who feel that Clinton's fund-raising activites were illegal is only 16 percent -- not much higher than two weeks ago -- while 47 percent say he did something unethical, but not illegal.
Here are the numbers:
How has the fund-raising controversy affected Clinton's approval rating? Two weeks ago, 60 percent approved of the way he has handled his job as president; now his approval rating stands at 57 percent. That small three-point drop may be due to the flap over campaign contributions, but it may also be due to the expected fading of the "second honeymoon" most presidents get at the start of second terms.
Bear in mind that Ronald Reagan's approval rating went from 60 percent in February 1985 to 56 percent in March of that year. It is far too early to tell what the long-term effect of the fund-raising controversy will be on attitudes toward Clinton.
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