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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly
Investigating The President

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

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

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

                      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

            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



Investigating the President


Sunday September 13, 1998

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