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Approval of Clinton's job performance steady

Growing number want investigation to end

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Support for the way President Clinton handles his official duties remained strong in the latest opinion poll taken Sunday, and an increasing number of Americans now say that Congress should take no further action on the report by Independent Counsel Ken Starr.

That 445-page document describes, in intimate detail, the president's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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In Sunday's CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, Clinton's job approval rating was 64 percent, giving him virtually the same level of public support he enjoyed before the Starr report was released, in all its embarrassing detail.

A slight majority of those polled -- 52 percent -- now say Congress should take no action on the Starr report and should end the investigation.

The number of people who said that Clinton should be impeached has dropped to 31 percent, compared with 36 percent of respondents who felt the president should resign.

Now that many Americans have seen or read media accounts of the Starr report, the number of people who think it is unfair has grown by 10 points.

Respect?

While Clinton's job approval rating stands firm, he is fast losing the respect of most Americans. Only 43 percent of those questioned Sunday said they respect the president, compared with 53 percent in mid-August, and 59 percent in January.

Most people also said that whether or not Hillary Clinton forgives her husband would not affect their own opinion of the president.

The new numbers are based on interviews with 631 adult Americans conducted on Sunday. 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.

Here are the full results of the poll:

Clinton Approval Rating:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling his job as president?

Now 64%
Sept. 11-12 63
Sept. 10 60
Sept. 1 62

Impeach Clinton and Remove Him From Office

Based on what you know at this point, do you think that Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and removed from office?

Yes No
Now 31% 66%
Sept. 11-12 30 64
Sept. 10 31 63
August 21-23 29 67

Should Clinton Resign?

Do you think Bill Clinton should or should not resign now and turn the presidency over to Al Gore?

Yes No
Now 36% 62%
Sept. 11-12 35 61
Sept. 10 35 61
Should Congress censure Clinton?

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?

Yes No
Now 60% 36%
Sept. 11-12 59 35
Sept. 10 58 36

Opinion of Clinton as a person

Thinking about Bill Clinton as a person, do you have a positive or negative opinion of him?

Now Sept. 10-11
Positive 37% 36%
Negative 56 58

Congressional hearings into Starr report

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?

Favor Oppose
Now 46% 52%
Sept. 11-12 52 44
Sept. 10 56 38

Starr report

Just your impression, do you think the Starr report is a fair and accurate account of Clinton's actions or is an unfair and distorted account of Clinton's actions?

Fair Unfair
Now 45% 43%
Sept. 11-12 45 42
Sept. 10 47 33

Charges against Clinton

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?

Now Sept. 10-11
Private matters 51% 55%
Public matters 47 43

How much have you heard about Starr report?

How much have you read or heard about the specific details contained in Starr's report to Congress-- a great deal, a moderate amount, only a little, or nothing at all?

Great deal 21%
Moderate amount 33
Only a little 34
Nothing 12

Do you respect Clinton?

Regardless of how you feel about his political views, would you say you respect President Clinton, or don't you feel that way?

Yes No
Now 43% 54%
August 10-12 53 44
January 28-29 59 37

Effect on your view of Clinton if Hillary forgave him

If you knew that Hillary Clinton had forgiven Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky matter, how much would that affect your view of him -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not much or not at all?

Great deal 14%
Moderate amount 11
Not much 22
Not at all 52

Has Hillary Forgiven Bill?

Do you feel that Hillary Clinton has or has not forgiven Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky matter?

Yes 38%
No 42

Investigating the President

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Monday, September 14, 1998

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