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

Poll: Americans leaning toward censure of Clinton

Many believe president can serve effectively for remainder of term

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 16) -- Nearly half of all Americans want their representatives in Congress to support some sort of censure of President Bill Clinton, while the percentage backing impeachment is much lower, the latest opinion poll shows.

Meanwhile, the president's job approval rating remains unchanged at 63 percent.

In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, 45 percent want their congressional representative to support censure and 27 percent want the Congress member from their district to support impeachment.

Interviews were conducted with 1,028 adult Americans, including 401 likely voters.

Two-thirds of the respondents say Clinton should be censured for the legal charges listed in the report by Independent Counsel Ken Starr and 50 percent say Clinton should be censured for his improper relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Fifty-eight percent say Clinton can serve effectively as president during his remaining two years in office; 51 percent say he could still be an effective president, even if censured by Congress. Also, six in 10 predict that Clinton will serve out the rest of his term in office.

Although Clinton's job approval rating is more than 60 percent, only a bare majority have a favorable view of him personally. That ranks him below his wife but well ahead of Starr. Public attitudes toward Vice President Al Gore do not appear to have been affected by the Lewinsky matter.

Despite Clinton's troubles, 59 percent of all Americans say they are glad he is president. But they don't believe his moral leadership is strong, even though nearly three-quarters believe it is very important for a president to provide moral leadership.

Effect on the elections

The predicted backlash against Democratic candidates has not yet shown up in the poll results. When likely voters were asked who they would support in the election in their congressional district, roughly equal numbers chose the Republican and Democratic candidates. That represents no significant change from previous polls when likely voters were asked the same question.

Most likely voters say that they would rather see the GOP in Congress have more influence over the country than Clinton. When the same questions were asked of all respondents, Clinton and the Republicans were in a dead heat. Likely voters also were more willing to support impeachment than the general public.

Here are the full results of the poll:

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

Clinton approval rating
  Now 63%
  Sept. 11-12 63%
  Sept. 1 62%

If the investigations into the Clinton-Lewinsky matter continue, what position would you prefer the U.S. representative from your congressional district tack: 1) Favor impeaching and removing Clinton from office, 2) Favor a formal reprimand or censure of Clinton, but not removing him from office or, 3) Favor taking no formal action against Clinton?
  Censure 45%
  Impeachment 27%
  No action 24%

If Congress considers voting to censure Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky matter, what would you prefer it do: 1) Censure him for the legal charges in Starr's report or 2) Censure him for his improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky?
    Yes No
  Legal charges 64% 32%
  Improper relationship 50% 46%

As of now, do you think Bill Clinton can be an effective president during his remaining two years in office, or not?
  Yes 58%
  No 39%

If Congress formally reprimands or censures Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky matter, do you think Bill Clinton would be an effective president during his remaining two years in office, or not?
  Yes 51%
  No 46%

What do you think Congress should do with Ken Starr's report: 1) Hold hearings to investigate the charges contained in the report or 2) Take no action on the report and end the investigation into these matter immediately?
  Hold hearings 50%
  Take no action 44%

What is your best guess about the future of Bill Clinton's presidency? Do you think: 1) He will serve out the rest of his term in office or 2) He will be forced to leave office before the end of his term?

Clinton will serve out the rest of his term
  Yes 60%
  No 33%

Likely voters' choice for Congress
  Democratic 48%
  Republican 47%

Who do you want to have more influence over the direction the nation takes over the next year: Bill Clinton or the Republicans in Congress?
    Now January
  Clinton 44% 49%
  GOP in Congress 43% 40%

Who do you want to have more influence over the direction the nation takes over the next year: Bill Clinton or the Republicans in Congress?
    All Americans Likely Voters
  GOP in Congress 43% 50%
  Clinton 44% 38%

Your member of Congress should support...
    All Americans Likely Voters
  Censure 45% 41%
  Impeachment 27% 38%
  No action 24% 19%

Thinking about the elections in November, if your member of Congress favors impeaching Clinton would that make you more likely to support or to oppose your member of Congress in the November election?
    Likely Voters
  More likely to vote for 34%
  More likely to vote against 31%
  No effect on vote 34%

Thinking about the elections in November, if your member of Congress favors a formal censure of Clinton, but did not favor impeachment, would that make you more likely to support or to oppose your member of Congress in the November election?
    Likely Voters
  More likely to vote for 27%
  More likely to vote against 24%
  No effect on vote 46%

Thinking about the elections in November, if your member of Congress favors a formal taking no formal action against Clinton would that make you more likely to support or to oppose your member of Congress in the November election?
    Likely Voters
  More likely to vote for 20%
  More likely to vote against 43%
  No effect on vote 35%

Thinking about the elections in November, if your member of Congress calls for Clinton to resign would that make you more likely to support or to oppose your member of Congress in the November election?
    Likely Voters
  More likely to vote for 41%
  More likely to vote against 31%
  No effect on vote 27%

I'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person.

Favorable ratings
    Now August
  Hillary Clinton 61% 61%
  Bill Clinton 51% 55%
  Ken Starr 32% 30%

All things considered, are you glad Bill Clinton is president or not?
  Yes 59%
  No 38%

I'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. Please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Al Gore.
    Now February
  Favorable 56% 57%
  Unfavorable 32% 33%

How important do you think it is for the president to provide moral leadership for the country?

Very important for president to provide moral leadership
  Yes 72%
  No 27%

Overall, what kind of moral leadership do you think Bill Clinton provides as president?
    Now 1996
  Strong 30% 53%
  Not strong 68% 45%


MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

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