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Poll: Education, not impeachment, tops nation's agenda

By Keating Holland/CNN

January 12, 1999
Web posted at: 6:19 p.m. EDT (1819 GMT)

WASHINGTON (January 12) -- Education, health care, Social Security and Medicare top the public's list of the issues for Congress and the president to deal with, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

An overwhelming majority -- 93 percent -- say that education should be the top priority or a high priority for Congress and the president in 1999.

Also in this poll:

At least nine people in 10 said the same about Social Security, health care and Medicare. Nearly as many said that poverty and homelessness should be the government's top priority or a high priority in the coming year.

Coming in dead last of the 12 items tested in the poll was the Clinton impeachment trial. Even though the stakes are high in the upcoming Senate trial, the public does not see it as nearly as high a priority as most other issues facing Congress in the coming year.

Looking ahead to 2000

The survey also found that Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush continue to lead their parties' list of potential presidential choices.

But in a hypothetical Gore-Bush matchup, Gore appears to have gained ground since December, when most public polls showed Bush leading Gore by at least 10 points. Gore is now in a statistical tie with Bush, with 47 percent of all Americans saying they would vote for the Tennessee Democrat and 48 percent would choose Bush.

Gore is also statistically tied with former Red Cross leader Elizabeth Dole, with Dole winning 49 percent to Gore's 47 percent.

The survey of 1,014 adult Americans was conducted January 8-10, and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points, except where otherwise indicated.

Full poll results:

Here are some issues now being discussed in Washington. For each one, please tell me whether you think it should the top priority or a high priority for Congress and the president to deal with in 1999.

Education 93%
Social Security 91
Health care 91
Medicare 90
Poverty 85%
Federal debt 75
Environment 74
Tax cuts 68
Defense spending 65
Highway repair 54%
Campaign finance reform 43
Impeachment trial 39

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic party's candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush were the Republican party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for? (Results include people who are leaning toward the candidate)

George W. Bush 48%
Al Gore 47

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic party's candidate and Elizabeth Dole were the Republican party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for? (Results include people who are leaning toward the candidate)

Elizabeth Dole 49%
Al Gore 47

I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Republican primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president in the year 2000.

George W. Bush42%Lamar Alexander4%
Elizabeth Dole22Gary Bauer2
John McCain8John Kasich2
Dan Quayle6Bob Smith1
Steve Forbes5  

Asked of Republicans only
Sampling error: +/-5% pts


I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in the year 2000.

Al Gore 47%
Dick Gephardt 13
Bill Bradley 12
Jesse Jackson 11
John Kerry 5

Asked of Democrats only
Sampling error: +/-5% pts




Investigating the President

MORE STORIES:

Tuesday January 12, 1999

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