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Clinton's Standing With Public Starts To Slide

CNN/TIME survey finds a 10-point drop in president's favorable rating in the past week

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (Jan. 23) -- The allegations that Bill Clinton had an extramarital affair with a White House intern have begun to affect the president's standing with the American public, a new CNN/TIME poll has found.

Clinton's favorable rating has dropped 10 points since last week, and a majority believe he lacks the proper moral character to be president. By a 48-31 percent margin, Americans think Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, and nearly as many think he had affairs with other women since he became president. Half the public thinks he is trying to cover something up in the matter.

How are Americans reacting to the growing controversy? They say they are disappointed and disgusted, but they are not surprised. There is one piece of good news for the White House: 59 percent of Americans say they don't care one way or another about the issue.

The survey's numbers are based on interviews Thursday with 618 adults, and it has a margin of sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Here are the numbers:


Favorable
Unfavorable

Now
50%
45%
Last Week
60%
33%
Does Clinton Lack the Proper Moral Character To Be President?
Yes
No

51%
40%
Did Clinton Have an Affair With Monica Lewinsky?
Yes
No
Unsure

48%
31%
21%
Did Clinton Have Affairs With Other Women?
Yes
No
Unsure

41%
34%
25%
Clinton Is...
Cooperating fully
Covering up

37%
51%
Would You Describe Yourself As...
Disappointed
Disgusted
Surprised
Outraged

Yes
60%
55%
26%
26%
No
37%
42%
72%
72%
Do You Care About This Matter?
Yes
No

36%
59%

Unhappy with investigation, taping

Americans aren't happy about the way this controversy developed. They continue to believe that information about the private lives of presidents, including extramarital affairs, should remain private. And they don't like Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation. Half the country says that Starr is going too far in investigating Clinton's sexual behavior, and 62 percent say that using a hidden microphone to tape-record Lewinsky's conversations was not appropriate.

Should Country Be Informed About Private Lives of Presidents?
Yes
No

36%
60%
Did Starr Go Too Far In Investigating Clinton?
Yes
No

51%
43%
Hidden Microphone To Record Monica Lewinsky's Remarks
Appropriate
Inappropriate

32%
62%

Nonetheless, the public is taking these charges seriously. Did Clinton commit perjury? Forty-eight percent say that charge is true, and that it is serious enough to be investigated. Another 11 percent say it is true, but not serious enough to warrant further investigation. Thirty percent say it is not true. If the evidence shows that he did commit perjury, 55 percent think Clinton should be impeached and removed from office.

On the charges that Clinton may have obstructed justice by trying to get Lewinsky to lie under oath, 49 percent think the charge is true and should be investigated; 8 percent say the charge is true but should not be investigated, and 33 percent say the charge is not true. If the evidence shows that he did obstruct justice, 63 percent would favor impeachment and removal from office.


Here are the numbers:

Favor Impeachment If Evidence Shows That Clinton...
Obstructed justice
Lied under oath
Had an affair

63%
55%
35%
Allegation That Clinton Lied Under Oath
True and should be investigated

True, but should not be investigated

Not true


48%

11%

30%

Allegation That Clinton Obstructed Justice
True and should be investigated

True, but should not be investigated

Not true


49%

8%

33%

Clinton's image may have suffered, but it could be worse. Although Americans no longer describe Clinton as someone they would be proud to have as president, over half the public says that Clinton's moral standards are no worse than those of the average married man. The public is split almost evenly, 47-45 percent, over whether Clinton is honest and trustworthy enough to be president. Most Americans don't believe that the controversy has hurt Clinton's ability to carry out the duties of his office. And they continue to believe that he is a strong leader and that he cares about the needs of the average American.

Is Clinton Someone You Would Be Proud To Have As President?
Yes
No

43%
50%
Clinton's Moral Standards
Lower than average married man

About the same

Higher


37%

54%

3

Clinton Honest and Trustworthy Enough To Be President?
Yes
No

47%
45%
Clinton's Ability to Carry Out Duties of His Office
Has been hurt
No effect

38%
58%
Clinton Cares About Average American
Yes
No

69%
27%
Clinton Is a Strong Leader
Yes
No

54%
42%
In Other News

Friday Jan. 23, 1998

Polls:
Clinton's Standing With Public Starts To Slide

Stories:
New Details Emerge About Sex Allegations Against Clinton
Richardson, U.N. Mission Subpoenaed On Lewinsky Job Offer
White House Scandal At A Glance
Tension Builds Between Clinton's Personal Attorneys
Gore: Clinton Innocent Of Affair Accusations
Text Of Lewinsky's Affidavit
Lewinsky's Attorney Lashes Out At Starr
Lott Hopes Sex Scandal Won't Distract Congress
Similarity To Clinton Intern Brings Unwelcome Fame
Clinton Aide Outlines State Of The Union Themes
Clinton To Propose Private Pension Changes
U.S. Senate Leader Says IMF Must Address Problems
German Man Convicted Of Threatening Clinton

Transcripts:
Donovan Campbell Comments





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