Poll: Americans Want Campaign Reform
GOP trusted more than president on the issue, survey indicates
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sep. 29) -- A majority of Americans want campaign-finance legislation passed this year, and while President Bill Clinton has portrayed Republicans as obstacles to reform, Americans trust the GOP more on the issue, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
By a margin of 55 percent to 35 percent, respondents said they wanted campaign-reform legislation passed this year. Forty-seven percent had more confidence in the GOP's ability to handle the issue while 29 percent preferred Clinton's.
The telephone survey of 1,006 adult Americans was conducted Sep. 26-28 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
The Senate began debate Friday on legislation authored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) which makes as its centerpiece its ban on so-called "soft-money" donations. Though Clinton and all Senate Democrats support the bill, all but four Republicans in the Senate oppose it.
The issue if rife with politics, and poll respondents were asked if the two parties were genuinely committed to reform. Thirty-seven percent felt Clinton is genuinely committed, while 53 percent said he isn't. Meanwhile, thirty-four percent said Republicans are genuinely committed to the issue while 53 percent said they aren't.
Did the White House break campaign law?
The poll had some bad news for the president and vice president, with 46 percent believing Bill Clinton broke fund-raising laws during the 1996 election cycle, while 36 percent said he didn't, and 18 percent unsure.
For Vice President Al Gore, 46 percent said he broke campaign laws, while 34 percent said he hadn't and 20 percent were unsure. In recent weeks, news reports have focused on the whether fund-raising calls made by Clinton and Gore from the White House were legal.
The public continues to support the appointment of an independent counsel -- 73-21 percent -- to investigate alleged fund-raising abuses. Attorney General Janet Reno will decide by this Friday whether to continue a Justice Department investigation into whether a special prosecutor is needed in Gore's case.
Though Reno has faced considerable heat in recent weeks on the issue, especially from congressional Republicans, 53 percent of those surveyed said Reno was committed to finding all the facts, while 34 percent said she has been trying to protect Clinton.
If the public thinks Clinton lacks credibility on campaign reform, they still seem to like him. His favorable rating was 61 percent, essentially unchanged from June. Gore, however, has slipped. His favorable rating stands at 51 percent, down from 57 percent in June.
Results Of The Poll
President Clinton Is America's Most Admired Man (12/30/97)
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