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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:

Clinton Fund-Raising
Now February 26-27 1996
Corrupt 52 % 47 %
Not corrupt 31 % 38 %

White House Handling of
Chinese Plan to Influence Election
Responsible 18 %
Irresponsible 51 %

Clinton Fund-Raising
Now February 26-27 1996
Illegal 16 % 12 %
Unethical 47 % 53 %
Nothing wrong 28 % 27 %
(Sampling error: +/-5 percent pts)

Would Gore Be a Good President?
Now October 1996
Yes 34 % 42 %
No 49 % 39 %

Gore Fund-Raising Calls From White House
Appropriate 28 %
Inappropriate 60 %
(Sampling error: +/-5 percent pts)

Opinion of Gore
Now December 1996
Favorable 56 % 59 %
Unfavorable 28 % 24 %

Is Gore Honest And Trustworthy?
Yes 53 %
No 34 %

Gore Fund-Raising
Illegal 11%
Unethical 44 %
Nothing wrong 31 %
(Sampling error: +/-5 percent pts)

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.

Clinton Approval Rating
Now Feb 26-27
Approve 57 % 60 %
Disapprove 35 % 33 %

Other Polls:

President Clinton Is America's Most Admired Man (12/30/97)
Americans Support U.S. Role In Bosnia (12/22/97)
Reno Should Have Appointed Independent Counsel (12/3/97)
Americans Want Independant Counsel (11/24/97)
Virginia Exit Poll: Governor's Race (11/6/97)
New Jersey Exit Poll: Governor's Race (11/4/97)
New York City Exit Poll: Mayor's Race (11/4/97)
Clinton, Gore Approval Ratings Rise (10/30/97)
America's Leaders Like America's Course (10/13/97)
Americans Want Campaign Reform (9/29/97)
Bad, Good News For Gore (9/12/97)
Congress Returns With High Approval Rating (8/28/97)
More Americans Want Jones vs. Clinton Settled Out Of Court (8/14/97)
Credit For Balanced Budget Deal Goes To GOP (8/1/97)
Clinton, GOP Deserve Credit For Budget (7/28/97)
GOP Congress Out Of Touch, Favors Wealthy (6/30/97)
People Still Care About Washington Scandals (6/3/97)
High Court Correct On Jones Case (6/2/97)
Public Supports Budget Deal By 2-1 Margin (5/8/97)
Few Americans Volunteer Regularly (4/25/97)
Most Say No To Wheelchair In F.D.R. Memorial (4/24/97)
Clinton's Approval Suffering Little (4/21/97)
Majority Says Gingrich Loan 'Inappropriate' (4/18/97)
Clinton's Approval Rating Remains High (3/27/97)
Gore's Poll Numbers Dip (3/14/97)
WSJ/NBC Poll On Fund-Raising (3/13/97)
Is Clinton's Honeymoon Ending? (2/27/97)
Americans Are Split On Clinton's Fund-Raising Tactics (2/27/97)
For 2000, Powell's No. 1 With GOP Voters (2/21/97)
President's Approval Rating Stays At High Levels (2/8/97)
New Yorkers Strongly Support Pataki (2/7/97)
Public Confidence High In Clinton On Most Issues (2/7/97)
Clinton Rides High On Issues Public Cares About Most (2/3/97)
Clinton Approval Rating At All-Time High (1/16/97)
Polls - Campaign '96

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