Let's Go To The Videotape (TIME, 10/13/97)
Campaign-Finance Fight Cools Friendships (CQ, 9/29/97)
Gavel To Gavel: AllPolitics' Campaign Fund-Raising Special Report
Poll: Most Say Clinton Acted Illegally Or Unethically
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 7) -- A majority of Americans believe that President Bill Clinton followed illegal or unethical practices during the 1996 presidential election fund-raising campaign, according to a new poll. And many Americans seem doubtful about whether Vice President Al Gore is honest enough to be the next president.
The nationwide CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll was taken before the discovery of new videotapes of controversial White House coffees involving Clinton and the Democratic Party, which are now a subject of Senate campaign finance hearings.
Sixty-one percent of Americans questioned in the poll believe that Clinton did something unethical or illegal during his fund-raising activities.
A sizable number of those polled also said Clinton should be investigated for giving party contributors special access to the White House.
Among those polled, Vice President Al Gore, who has been the target of Republican Party attacks over his fund-raising practices, is not seen as a very trustworthy person. Sixty-seven percent said that he should be investigated by a special independent counsel.
And while 45 percent describe him as honest and trustworthy enough to be president, 44 percent say "no" to Gore, and 11 percent remained unsure.
The telephone survey of 872 adults was conducted last Friday-Sunday and had a sampling error of 4 percentage points.
Ban Soft Money
The poll also suggests Americans support a ban on so-called "soft money," the unregulated funds donated to the national political parties. Americans -- by a 63-24 percent margin -- support banning soft money.
Failing to muster the 60 votes required to cut off debate, supporters of the McCain-Feingold legislation, which includes a ban on soft money, saw their favored reform pulled from the Senate floor Tuesday by Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.
Most Senate Republicans oppose McCain-Feingold, and during the debate many cited the need to protect voters' rights to contribute to campaigns. Some said the bill violated the First Amendment.
Fifty-six percent of people polled believed it was more important to protect government officials from the influence of contributors, while 39 percent said it was more important to protect the freedom of individuals to support candidates.
Lott proposed an amendment to require unions to obtain written permission from their members before spending dues on political activities. Clinton and other Democrats called that a "poison pill" provision, but the poll found strong support for Lott's idea, with some 72 percent of those polled favoring it while 24 percent opposed it.
The findings were based on telephone interviews with 872 adults on Oct. 3-5. The sampling error was +/- 4 percentage points. For more information on how CNN polls are conducted, click here.
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