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

Poll: GOP enthusiasm higher as election approaches

But the public still opposes impeachment

By Keating Holland/CNN


VIDEO

GOP enthusiasm higher as election approaches (10-26-98) Real: 28K | 56K Windows Media: 28K | 56K


WASHINGTON (October 26) -- Republicans have the edge in voter enthusiasm as the November 3 midterm elections draw near, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

If next week's congressional elections were held today, 49 percent of all likely voters would choose the Republican candidate for Congress in their district and 47 percent would pick the Democratic candidate, the poll shows.

Also in this story:

That two-point lead for the GOP is statistically insignificant, but the Republicans hold a significant advantage when it comes to turnout, according to the survey released Monday afternoon.

A plurality of all Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, while a majority of all Democrats say they are less enthusiastic than usual. Enthusiasm among Democrats is waning this year while holding steady among the GOP rank and file.

The Democrats faced a similar uphill fight to get its voters to the polls in 1994. Then, 50 percent of all Democrats said they were less enthusiastic than usual; today 51 percent do, and only 32 percent of Democrats say they are more enthusiastic about voting.

The number of Democrats who say they are more enthusiastic has dropped nine points in only two weeks, another danger sign for Democratic candidates. More Republicans than Democrats also say they are extremely or very motivated to vote -- and motivation among Republicans has gone up in the past two weeks while remaining virtually unchanged among Democrats.

The October 23-25 survey included interviews with 1,013 adult Americans, including 519 likely voters, and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points for the entire group and +/- 5 percentage points for the sub-sample of likely voters.

Here are the questions and results:

If the election for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?

Likely Voters' Choice for Congress

Republican 49%
Democratic 47%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Compared to previous elections, are you more enthusiastic about voting than usual, or less enthusiastic?

Enthusiasm About Voting

Democrats Republicans
Less than usual
More than usual
51%
32%
39%
44%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Democrats' Enthusiasm About Voting

Now 1994
Less than usual
More than usual
51%
32%
50%
29%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

More Enthusiasm Than Usual About Voting This Year

Democrats Republicans
Now
Oct. 9-12
32%
44%
41%
45%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

How motivated do you feel to get out and vote this year -- extremely motivated, very motivated, somewhat motivated, not too motivated, or not motivated at all?

Extremely Or Very Motivated To Vote This Year

Democrats Republicans
Now
Oct. 9-12
56%
53%
67%
59%
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Thumbs up for Clinton's role in Mideast peace talks

More than three-quarters of all Americans approve of President Bill Clinton's handling of the recent Middle East peace talks, but that has not affected his overall job approval rating.

Nonetheless, at 65 percent, the number of Americans who approve of how Clinton is handling his job overall is slightly higher than President Ronald Reagan's just before the midterm elections of 1986 and significantly higher than President Dwight Eisenhower's before the 1958 midterms. The GOP lost strength in Congress in both of those elections, despite the fact that large majorities approved of the job Eisenhower and Reagan were doing at the time.

A full 70 percent think that Clinton's policies would move the country in the right direction; only 47 percent say that about the Republican leaders in the House and Senate. But that may not help Democrats this November, since nearly half the public says the country would be the same regardless of which party controls Congress.

Six people in 10 continue to say they want their member of the House of Representatives to vote against impeachment. But half say that they will not be sending a message about impeachment when they vote next week.

Do you approve or disapprove of President Clinton's handling of the recent Middle East peace talks?

How Clinton Handled Mideast Peace Talks

Approve 78%
Disapprove 12%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

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

Clinton's Overall Job Approval Rating

Now 65%
Oct. 9-12 65%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you think the policies being proposed by President Clinton would move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?

Clinton's Policies Would Move Country in...

Right direction 70%
Wrong direction 22%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you think the policies being proposed by the Republican leaders in the U.S. House and Senate would move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?

GOP Leaders's Policies Would Move Country In...

Right direction 47%
Wrong direction 33%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you think the country would be better off if the Republicans controlled Congress, if the Democrats controlled Congress, or would the country be the same regardless of which party controlled Congress?

Country Better Off If...

GOP controlled Congress 24%
Democrats controlled Congress 22%
No difference 48%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Continuing opposition to impeachment

As you may know, removing a president from office involves two major steps in Congress. First, the House of Representatives must vote on whether there is enough evidence to bring a president to trial before the Senate. This step is called impeachment. Next, the Senate must vote on whether to remove the president from office, or not.

What would you want your member of the House of Representatives to do: 1) Vote in favor of impeaching Clinton and sending the case to the Senate for trial, or 2) Vote against impeachment of Clinton?

Your Member of Congress Should Vote...

All Americans Likely Voters
For impeachment
Against impeachment
33%
61%
39%
56%

Sampling error: +/-3% 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?

Your Vote Will Send a Message...

All Americans Likely Voters
Supporting Clinton
Opposing Clinton
Not sending a message
23%
19%
52%
24%
22%
52%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts


MORE STORIES:

Monday, October 26, 1998

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