Poll: High Court Correct On Jones Case
A majority of Americans believes the president's accuser, but a majority also thinks the case is irrelevant to Clinton's presidency
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 2) -- With President Bill Clinton's popularity remaining high, a majority of Americans agree with the Supreme Court's recent decision not to suspend action on the sexual harassment case against him, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
The president's approval remains unchanged from early May before the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that there was no constitutional basis for delaying Paula Jones' suit. Fifty-seven percent approve of Clinton's performance while 35 percent disapprove.
But by 58-40 percent, Americans agreed the court was correct to reject Clinton's argument that his duties as president preclude him from taking part in a civil trial. And by 72-19 percent, those polled believe some incident occurred in 1991 between Clinton and Jones, an Arkansas state employee, in a Little Rock hotel room. That is up from 53-38 percent in May 1995.
Of those polled, 45 percent believe Jones' account is true, while 37 percent think it's false. In May 1995, just 27 percent believed Jones while 57 percent doubted her story.
And that story is, essentially, that Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, noticed her at a desk in the lobby of the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, where she was handing out name tags for a conference. He had a state trooper bring her to a private room, and there made a crude request for oral sex, in the process giving her a look at what she would later call "distinguishing characteristics" of his genital area.
Among people surveyed, there was disagreement whether that account, even if true, amounts to sexual harassment. Those polled called it harassment by 46-43 percent, and 45 percent said Jones should proceed with the case. Thirty-one percent said she should postpone her lawsuit, and 21 percent were in favor of dropping the case.
The survey of 935 adult Americans was conducted from May 30 to June 1, and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percent.
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