Poll: Public wants Clinton censured, but not removed
Most Americans still approve of his job performance, survey finds
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, September 13) -- Americans think President Bill Clinton should be reprimanded by Congress for his tawdry, illicit affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, but they don't want him to either resign or be removed from office, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.
Fifty-nine percent of people questioned -- or nearly six in 10 Americans -- think Congress should vote to censure Clinton, while only 35 percent think he should resign and only 30 percent favor the president's impeachment and removal from office, the poll found.
Clinton's job approval rating stands at 63 percent, virtually unchanged since the House of Representatives released Independent Counsel Ken Starr's explosive sex-and-perjury report via the Internet on Friday.
The new numbers are based on interviews with 902 adult Americans September 11-12. The poll contains a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points for the questions asked of the entire sample, and +/- 6 percentage points for questions asked of likely voters. | Previous poll
White House officials launched a counterattack Saturday on Starr's report, saying the independent counsel fails to prove Clinton did anything worthy of impeachment.
Strategists hope that public support for the job Clinton has done as president will help them salvage his presidency, despite the humiliatingly graphic detail about the president's sex life in the Starr report.
The new poll also found that by wide margins, Americans believe Clinton lied under oath during the Paula Jones deposition and to Starr's grand jury.
Eighty-six percent of people think he lied in the Jones case and 78 percent think he lied to the Starr grand jury, according to the poll results. But in each case, the public is divided over whether that is an impeachable offense.
Here are the full results of the poll:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handing his job as president? Clinton Approval Rating Now 63% Sept. 10 60 Sept. 1 62 Based on what you know at this point, do you think that Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and removed from office? Impeach Clinton and remove him from office Yes No Now 30% 64% Sept. 10 31 63 August 21-23 29 67 Do you think Bill Clinton should or should not resign now and turn the presidency over to Al Gore? Should Clinton resign? Yes No Now 35% 61% Sept. 10 35 61 Regardless of whether or not you think Clinton should be impeached, do you think Congress should or should not vote to censure Clinton -- that is, pass a formal resolution expressing disapproval of his actions? Should Congress censure Clinton? Yes No Now 59% 35% Sept. 10 58 36 Clinton Should... Yes No Be censured 59% 35% Resign 35 61 Be impeached 30 64 Thinking about Bill Clinton as a person, do you have a positive or negative opinion of him? Positive 36% Negative 58 Do you think Bill Clinton is honest and trustworthy enough to be president, or not? Now August Yes 48% 52% No 47 42 If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district? Now August Democratic 47% 44% Republican 46 48 Likely Voters Only Sampling error: +/-6% pts What effect, if any, will the Monica Lewinsky matter have on your vote for Congress in November? Will your vote for a candidate be made in order to send a message that you support Bill Clinton; be made in order to send a message that you oppose Bill Clinton; or will you not be sending a message about Bill Clinton with your vote? Vote to support Clinton 22% Vote to oppose Clinton 19 No effect on vote 58 Likely Voters Only Sampling error: +/-6% pts Next, I'm going to describe some of the charges against Clinton being investigated by Congress. As I read each one, please say whether you think it is definitely true, probably true, probably not true or definitely not true. Also, for each one, if you were convinced it were true, please say whether you think Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and removed from office. Lying Under Oath In Paula Jones Case Charges are true 86% Impeachable offense 38 Lying Under Oath To Grand Jury Charges are true 78% Impeachable offense 50 Concealing Gifts And Getting Lewinsky To Lie Under Oath Charges are true 70% Impeachable offense 42 Trying To Get Lewinsky a Job Charges are true 70% Impeachable offense 36 Influencing Betty Currie's Testimony Charges are true 65% Impeachable offense 42 Lying To Top Aides Charges are true 77% Impeachable offense 41 Thinking about all of the charges against Bill Clinton that Congress is investigating, do you think these charges represent private matters only or do they concern the public as well? Private matters 55% Public matters 43 Just your impression -- do you think the Starr report is a fair and accurate account of Clinton's actions, or do you think it is an unfair and distorted account of Clinton's actions? Now Thursday Fair and accurate 45% 47% Unfair and distorted 42 33 Does the Starr report contain any new details about Clinton's behavior that makes you feel the charges against Clinton are more serious than you felt before, or not? Yes 27% No 60 What do you think Congress should do with Ken Starr's report -- hold hearings to investigate the charges contained in the report, or take no action on the report and end the investigation into these matters immediately? Now Thursday Favor 52% 56% Oppose 44 38 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? Now May Approve 55% 44% Disapprove 36 48 Do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following has handled the controversy over Clinton and Monica Lewinsky -- Bill Clinton, Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Congress, the news media and Ken Starr? How Republicans Are Handling Controversy Now August Approve 43% 33% Disapprove 48 52 Handling The Controversy Approve Disapprove Republicans 43% 48% Democrats 43 44 Handling the Controversy Approve Disapprove Starr 35% 60% Media 29 68 Clinton 27 70 If the reports of Clinton's sexual behavior are true, in your view would that make him unfit to be president, or not? Yes 34% No 63
Sunday September 13, 1998
Congressmen hit talk show circuit
Poll: Public wants Clinton censured, but not removed