Clinton Loses A Big One (TIME, 6/9/97)
Poll: People Still Care About Washington Scandals
But they don't always pay attention, even to stories they think are important
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 3) -- In an era of tabloid news, Washington, D.C.-style scandals still capture the public imagination as well as the alleged sexual escapades of sportscasters and Kennedys.
A full 75 percent of Americans surveyed have closely followed Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton, while 61 percent have kept up with the questions of possible illegal or improper Democratic fund-raising, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
Only the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh garnered more attention, the survey found.
An equal percentage of people -- 51 percent -- had heard about football sportscaster Frank Gifford's photographed indiscretions and Clinton's trip to Europe last week.
More than half of those surveyed have paid particular attention to the sexual assault charges against sportscaster Marv Albert, while the story of Michael Kennedy and his 15-year-old babysitter was known well by only 38 percent of the group.
The fact that Jones' accusations have done little to hurt the president's approval ratings may be explained by the fact that even the people who follow the details don't think the charges are important. Just more than half thought the story was very or moderately important, while 44 percent said it was not important.
A reversal of that trend can be seen in the cases of Democratic fund-raising and Clinton's European trip; more people thought the stories were important than actually followed them.
Of the people surveyed, 82 percent rated accusations of Democratic fund-raising abuses as important, while only 61 percent watched the story closely. Even more, 83 percent, said that the president's trip to Europe was important, but only 51 percent knew much about it.
The survey of 935 adults was conducted from May 30 to June 1, and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percent.
President Clinton Is America's Most Admired Man (12/30/97)
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