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Poll: Kosovo has little impact on 2000 landscape

Survey shows warning signs of shifting mood in America

Keating Holland/CNN

April 15, 1999
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT)

WASHINGTON (April 15) -- The current military action in Kosovo has not produced any major changes in support for the Republican candidates for president despite a flurry of publicity for Arizona Sen. John McCain, a leading critic of the Clinton Administration's policies.


In this poll:

Gore continues to lead Bradley, trail Bush
Americans support Clinton's contempt citation
Mood changing toward Clinton Administration

Related poll:

Support for NATO strikes, and ground troops, growing


According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, Texas Gov. George W. Bush remains the front-runner with 53 percent of all Republicans nationwide choosing him as their first choice. Former Red Cross Director Elizabeth Dole, with support from 16 percent of all Republicans, is the only other GOP hopeful in double digits.

McCain's support has risen from 3 percent in March to 5 percent -- but it is worth noting that is below the 8 percent he won in a poll in January. Dan Quayle, Steve Forbes, and Pat Buchanan all have similar strength.

The survey of 1,069 adult Americans was conducted on April 13-14, 1999. Questions have a margin of sampling error of +/- three percentage points unless otherwise indicated.

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.

Bush53% 
Dole16 
Quayle7 
Forbes6 
McCain5 
Buchanan4 
Bauer2 
Kasich2 
Alexander* 
Smith* 
Asked of Republicans only
Sampling error: +/-5% pts
* = less than 0.5%

Please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of John McCain -- or if you have never heard of him.

Opinion of John McCain

  Now February
Favorable 35% 27%
Unfavorable 12 8
Unfamiliar 53 65

Gore continues to lead Bradley, trail Bush

On the Democratic side, Bill Bradley is now drawing support from a third of all Democrats nationwide, but Vice President Al Gore continues to maintain a 20-point lead on the former basketball star.

A majority -- 54 percent -- of Democrats nationwide want Gore to be their party's nominee in 2000; 34 percent prefer Bradley. Bradley has gained some ground on Gore in the past six weeks, going from 20 percent of the vote in early March to 34 percent while Gore's share of support has remained steady.

But Bradley's improvement is probably not due to Kosovo. Since the start of military action in Yugoslavia, both Democratic candidates have seen their support grow, leaving the vice president's 20-point lead unchanged since March 25. Bradley's favorable ratings are rising as more Americans become familiar with him.

More bad news for Gore: he wins just 38 percent in a hypothetical match-up against Bush -- the lowest amount of support he has received to date. Gore also wins only 42 percent in a hypothetical contest with Dole, another low for the vice president.

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?

Gore54% 
Bradley34 
Asked of Democrats only
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

  GoreBradley 
Now54%34% 
March 254929(CNN/TIME POLL)
March 45420(CNN/TIME POLL)
Asked of Democrats only
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Now suppose the year 2000 presidential election were being held today. 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?

George W. Bush 59%
Al Gore 38

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic party's candidate and former Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole, were the Republican party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

Elizabeth Dole 54%
Al Gore 42

Please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Bill Bradley -- or if you have never heard of him.

Opinion of Bill Bradley

  Now February
Favorable 46% 38%
Unfavorable 10 9
Unfamiliar 44 53

Americans support Clinton's contempt citation

What is the reaction to Judge Susan Webber Wright's ruling that President Bill Clinton was in contempt of court for giving intentionally false testimony during the Paula Jones case?

Two-thirds agree with the judge's decision, and 60 percent would favor Clinton being disbarred and prevented from practicing law as a result of the judge's ruling.

As you may know, a federal judge in Arkansas on Monday held that President Clinton was in contempt of court for giving "intentionally false" testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Do you agree or disagree with the judge's decision?

Agree 66%
Disagree 27

The possibility exists that as a result of this decision, the Arkansas State Bar could disbar Bill Clinton and prevent him from practicing law in Arkansas when he leaves the presidency. Would you favor or oppose that action?

Disbar Clinton because he was cited for contempt?

Yes 60%
No 35

Mood changing toward Clinton Administration

There are early warning signs for the Clinton Administration that the public's mood is changing in a post-Lewinsky, wartime world.

During Clinton's impeachment, his approval rating was high, satisfaction with how things were going in the country reached record levels, and Clinton held a sizeable advantage over the GOP in the public's mind. In January, for example, 55 percent said they wanted Clinton to have more influence than the Republicans in Congress over the direction the nation takes in the next year.

Now, Clinton and the Republicans are in a virtual tie -- just before Congress is likely to begin debating U.S. policy in Kosovo.

And satisfaction with how things are going in the country has dropped from 71 percent in February to 58 percent -- still an indication of a relatively contented country and about par for the course through most of 1998.

Clinton's approval rating is now at 60 percent, far below the record 73 percent he posted just after his impeachment by the House or the 70 percent figure he had during his Senate trial. But between the 1996 election and the start of the Lewinsky scandal, his approval rating consistently hovered around 60 percent, and it seems likely that the drop in Clinton's ratings due to their resuming a natural level now that impeachment is past us.

How much has Kosovo hurt Clinton? A few points at most -- his approval rating was at 64 percent just before the bombing in Yugoslavia began.

Who do you want to have more influence over the direction the nation takes in the next year -- Bill Clinton or the Republicans in Congress?

  Clinton GOP
Now 44% 43%
January 55 37

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?

Now 58%
February 71
October 60

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

Approve 60%
Disapprove 36

RELATED POLL

Support for NATO strikes, and ground troops, growing


CAMPAIGN 2000

New Hampshire sets February 1 primary date (9-28-99)

Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain (9-28-99)

Bradley unveils $65 billion plan for universal health care (9-28-99)

Gore receives endorsements of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Cosby (9-28-99)

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