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Poll: Most Americans Don't Want To Hear Tripp Tapes

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 9) -- Most Americans say the tape recordings that Linda Tripp secretly made of her conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky should not be made public no matter how important they might be as evidence, and 70 percent say they are not interested in listening to the tapes themselves, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

Also in this story:

Tripp tapes poll

But 70 percent also say they think most other Americans would be interested in hearing the tapes. And 63 percent want the investigation into the Monica Lewinsky matter to stop completely, even if it means that the public would never know what really happened.

The figures are based on interviews with 1,035 adults on July 7-8, and the survey has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 to +/- 5 percentage points, depending on the question.

Here are the numbers:


Should Linda Tripp Tapes Be Made Public?
Yes
No
35%
59%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Are You Interested in Hearing Linda Tripp Tapes?
Yes
No
29%
70%
Sampling error: +/-5% pts
Are Most Americans Interested In Hearing Linda Tripp Tapes?
Yes
No
70%
26%
Sampling error: +/-5% pts
Investigation Into Monica Lewinsky Matter Should
Continue
Stop
35%
63%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Lewinsky's credibility

What happens if Monica Lewinsky testifies before Ken Starr's grand jury?

If she contradicts President Bill Clinton's denial of any extramarital affair with her, the public is now prepared to believe her rather than Clinton.

That's a change from February, when a majority were more willing to believe Clinton than Lewinsky if their stories conflicted. Today 47 percent would believe Lewinsky if she said that she had sex with Clinton and Clinton continued to deny it; just 38 percent would believe Clinton in such "he said/she said" circumstances.

But if Lewinsky says that Clinton advised her to lie under oath and Clinton denies that ever happened, the public is evenly split.

Forty-two percent would believe Clinton's testimony over Lewinsky's when it comes to obstruction of justice charges, while 39 percent would believe Lewinsky's version of events.

Nonetheless, Clinton has lost a lot of credibility since February. The fact that the public is less likely to believe Lewinsky when it comes to suborning perjury takes on added significance in light of the public's attitudes toward impeachment.

Half the country now believes that Clinton should not be impeached if it were proven that he lied under oath about having an affair with Lewinsky. But the public is split, 48-45 percent, over whether he should be impeached if it were proven that he tried to get Lewinsky to lie under oath about an affair.

If Lewinsky Says She Had Affair With Clinton


Believe Lewinsky
Believe Clinton
Now

47%
38%

February

38%
53%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts
If Lewinsky Says Clinton Asked Her To Lie Under Oath


Believe Lewinsky
Believe Clinton
Now

39%
42%

February

32%
60%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts
Impeach Clinton If You Were Convinced That He...


Lied under oath
Obstructed justice
Yes

45%
48%

No

50%
45%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Clinton's China trip

Most Americans approve of Clinton's trip to China, but the visit produced only a slight change in the public's opinion of that country, and Americans continue to oppose so-called "most-favored-nation" trade status for China.

Forty-four percent of all Americans now have a favorable view of China, up from the 39 percent who had a positive view of China just before Clinton's trip, but still less than the 47 percent who still have an unfavorable view of China.

Fifty-five percent oppose granting "most-favored-nation" status to China, virtually identical to the 53 percent who opposed MFN last year. (For the record, the question points out that "the United States grants a trade status to most nations it trades with known as Most Favored Nation status," so the poll respondents were aware that MFN status would not convey special privileges to China.)

Nearly half believe that Clinton's trip significantly improved relations with China, but only one in five say that the visit will significantly improve the way China treats its citizens.

Opinion of China


Favorable
Unfavorable
Now

44%
47%

June

39%
51%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Most Favored Nation Status For China


Favor
Oppose
No Opinion
35%
55%
10%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Clinton's Trip to China


Approve
Disapprove
64%
27%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Did Clinton's Trip Improve U.S. Relations With China?


Yes
No
49%
38%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Did Clinton's Trip Improve China's Treatment of its Citizens?


Yes
No
22%
61%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

The U.S. economy

Americans continue to give the U.S. economy high ratings and are optimistic about the next 12 months. A full 79 percent say the economy is in good condition, up from 69 percent who felt that way last summer. And 73 percent say that economic conditions will be good a year from now. That's a key reason why Clinton's approval rating has remained steady at 61 percent, just about where Ronald Reagan's rating was in the summer of his sixth year in office.

Clinton Approval Rating
Approve
Disapprove
61%
34%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Economic Conditions Today
Good
Poor
79%
20%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Economic Conditions A Year From Now
Good
Poor
73%
21%
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

In Other News

Thursday, July 9, 1998

Clinton Unveils Anti-Drug Advertising Campaign
Poll: Most Americans Don't Want To Hear Tripp Tapes
Tripp Returns For More Grand Jury Testimony
Gore Visits Iowa To Discuss Education
Judge Delays Release Of Jones Case Documents
U.S.-China Relations Under Examination In Senate
Senate Overwhelmingly Approves IRS Overhaul


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