Poll: Americans Don't Believe President's Denial Of Perjury
By Keating Holland/CNN
WASHINGTON (Aug. 19) -- Americans don't believe President Bill Clinton's assertions that he did not commit perjury or try to obstruct justice, according to the latest CNN/TIME Poll.
A majority also does not think the president has adequately taken personal responsibility for his actions in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And they do not think it was appropriate for Clinton to criticize Independent Counsel Ken Starr in his speech on Monday night.
But Americans do believe that Clinton's sexual relationship with the former White House intern is a private matter between Clinton and his family. That is why a majority are satisfied with what Clinton said in his speech on Monday night, and that is why they continue to call for an end to Starr's investigation.
Still, six people in 10 still believe Clinton should have used the words "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" in his speech. An equal number say he went far enough in explaining his relationship with Lewinsky.
Clinton's high approval rating remains unchanged, although the number of Americans with a favorable impression of him personally continues to be much lower than the number who approve of how he is handling his job as president.
That is similar to the pattern of public opinion which emerged after the Lewinsky matter first made headlines in January. And another intriguing pattern is repeating itself: the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country today has jumped 10 points in the wake of Clinton's admission of wrongdoing. (The stock market also rose in the wake
of Monday night's speech.)
One possible explanation is that as in January, the attention focused on the Lewinsky controversy reminds Americans how little they have to complain about when it comes to important economic or international issues. What effect will this have on future elections? Two-thirds say they would consider voting for a candidate in the year 2000 who had had an extramarital affair.
First lady Hillary Clinton's favorable rating remains high, putting her above her husband as well as Vice President Al Gore.
But when we asked women, "If you were about to go on vacation with your husband and he had just admitted having sex with a 21-year-old intern, would you still go on vacation with him," only 21 percent said yes.
The survey of 1,042 adults was conducted Aug. 18 and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Believe Clinton Did Not Ask Anyone To Lie?
Believe Clinton Did Not Ask Anyone To Hide Evidence?
Believe Clinton's Testimony Was Legally Accurate?
Clinton's Criticism of Starr In Speech on Monday
Has Clinton Adequately Taken Responsibility For His Actions?
Clinton's Relationship With Lewinsky
Private matter 69%
Public matter 27
Satisfied With What Clinton Said on Monday Night?
Complete End To Starr's Investigation
Clinton Should Have Apologized?
Clinton's Explanation of Relationship With Lewinsky
Went far enough 59%
Not far enough 35
Things Are Going Well In Country Today
How Clinton Is Handling His Job As President
Opinion of Clinton
Consider Voting For Candidate In 2000 Who Had Affair?
Favorable Opinion of...
Hillary Clinton 60%
Bill Clinton 51
Al Gore 50
Vacation With Your Husband If He Had Just Admitted Affair?
Asked of women only: sampling error: +/-5% pts