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Poll: Credit For Balanced Budget Deal Goes To GOP
For first time in 23 years, more Americans approve of Congress' job performance than disapprove
By Keating Holland/CNN
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 1) -- The balanced budget and tax cut bills that sailed through Congress this week have had an historic impact on public opinion. For the first time since 1974, more Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job than disapprove, according to the latest TIME/CNN poll.
The news is particularly good for the Republican Party. By a 41-32 percent margin, the public thinks that the GOP leaders in Congress deserve more credit for the budget agreement than Clinton does. The public also sees the GOP as the big winners in the budget battles with 39 percent saying that the Republicans in Congress got more of what they wanted in the budget and tax bills than Clinton did. Thirty-three percent say Clinton got more of what he wanted.
Overall, the budget agreement is very popular, with 61 percent of those polled favoring it.
The survey of 814 adult Americans was conducted July 30-31, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Despite the public's overall approval of the budget package, Americans are skeptical about some of the details.
Although 59 percent say the budget agreement will benefit the country, only a third say that it will help them personally. Only one in 10 Americans thinks that their own taxes will go down as a result of the tax cuts passed on Thursday, and a majority think those tax cuts are unfair because they mostly benefit the rich.
A majority also believe that the bills passed Thursday will not actually balance the budget. Fifty-two percent say it is unlikely that the budget agreement will result in a balanced budget; 40 percent say it is likely.
Bill Clinton may not get as much credit for the budget and tax bill as the GOP does, but he remains very popular. His approval rating now stands at 60 percent, just a few points behind the ratings Eisenhower and Reagan got at this point in their second terms.
More importantly, 69 percent think things are going well in the country today. The last time that many Americans had such a positive view was immediately after the U.S. won the Persian Gulf War.
On the money trail, 59 percent of all Americans believe that the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee should continue to hold hearings into campaign fund-raising improprieties.
But those hearings have not had an effect on the public's view of Clinton himself. Only 17 percent believe Clinton's fund-raising activities in 1996 were illegal; 45 percent say he did something unethical but not illegal, and a quarter say he did nothing seriously wrong. Those numbers have remained virtually unchanged since April.
By a 50-39 percent margin, Americans think that what Clinton has said about these matters has been completely true or mostly true.
President Clinton Is America's Most Admired Man (12/30/97)
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