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

Poll: Clinton gets thumbs up from American public

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics) -- The American public favors the censure rather than the impeachment or resignation of President Bill Clinton as he prepares to face a crucial vote on his future, an exclusive poll has found.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday found that 54 percent of Americans supported censure vs. 36 percent favoring impeachment.

Only 33 percent of those polled said Clinton should resign and turn the presidency over to Vice President Al Gore.

Since last weekend, support has gone up for Clinton with a jump from 59 to 62 percent of Americans not wanting their congressional representative to vote for impeachment.

However, four out of ten Americans said he should resign if he was impeached by the full House of Representatives and his case sent to trial in the Senate.

On the question of how the Clinton controversy will affect America, opinion was varied. One in five people believe the impeachment of Clinton would plunge the U.S. into a "serious crisis" while a similar number say it would pose "no problem at all."

But most people believe Clinton is heading in the right direction. Sixty-three percent of those polled approved of the way he was handling his job.

A further 52 percent of people favored the Democrats' handling of the Clinton investigation but only 38 percent supported Republicans on the same question.

There was strong disapproval on the media's handling of the investigation with a 63 percent disapproval rating. In contrast, 67 percent of people believed first lady Hillary Clinton was handling the investigation well.

And while another CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Americans may not believe Clinton ordered the Iraq attack to divert attention from impeachment, the move did force the House to delay a planned Thursday debate -- and possible vote -- on the impeachment articles.

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll

Interviews with 1,089 adult Americans conducted December 15-16, 1998.

Most interviews were conducted on Tuesday; all Wednesday interviews were conducted after the White House announced U.S. attacks on Iraq.

1) Should your U.S. Representative vote to impeach Clinton?

            Yes     No

Now         36%      62%
Weekend     38       59

2) Should Clinton be impeached by the House of Representatives and then removed from office by the Senate

                 Yes     No
Impeached:       36%     62%
Removed:         34      63

3) Should Clinton be....

            Yes       No
Censured:   54%       39%
Impeached   36        62
Resign      33        63

4) Should Clinton resign now?

No    63%

5) Should Clinton resign if he is impeached?

Yes   41%
No    55

6) Is Clinton fit to be president?

Yes   62%
No    36%

7) House should vote....

On impeachment and censure    47%
Only on impeachment           34%

8) Clinton impeachment would face the U.S. with...

Serious crisis     20%
Major problem      35%
Minor problem      24%
No problem at all  18%

9) How Clinton is handling his job as president?

Approve     63%
Disapprove  33%

10) Opinion of political parties

                 Favorable      Unfavorable
Democratic         58%            32%
Republican         43%            47%

11) How parties in Congress are handling the Clinton investigation

                 Approve         Disapprove
Democratic         52%              40%
Republican         38               56

12) Likely to vote for U.S. Representative who supports impeachment

More likely        19%
Less likely        31
No difference      48

13) Are you glad Clinton is president?

Yes 62%
No  35%

14) How media is handling Clinton investigation?

Approve     32%
Disapprove  63

15) How Hillary Clinton is handling Clinton investigation?

Approve     67%
Disapprove  23

16) Opinion of Clintons

                Positive        Negative
Bill Clinton      46%             50%
Hillary Clinton   64              31

17) Can reasonable people disagree with you on impeachment?

                              Yes             No
Opponents to impeachment      40%             54%
Supporters of impeachment     55%             37%

Sampling error: +/- 3% points

Investigating the President


Thursday, December 17, 1998

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