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

Poll: Strong majority do not want Clinton removed from office

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (January 11) -- With the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton scheduled to get underway this week, nearly two-thirds of the American public does not want to see Clinton removed from office, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Why? It's not because Americans disbelieve the charges he was impeached on: 79 percent say he committed perjury about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in front of Ken Starr's grand jury. And 53 percent say that he obstructed justice by trying to influence the testimony of Lewinsky, Betty Currie and others.

But a majority say that neither charge is serious enough to justify Clinton's removal from office by the Senate.

Though 65 percent say that Clinton will get a fair trial in the Senate, 63 percent predict that the Republicans and Democrats will mostly fight with each other, rather than cooperate.

That impression seems to be hurting the public's impression of Senate Republicans -- only 36 percent approve of how the Senate GOP is handling the impeachment trial, compared to 53 percent who approve of how the Democrats in the Senate are handling the matter. That is an indication that Friday's bipartisan lovefest did not have a serious effect on public opinion.

Don't forget another critical component of Clinton's high standing with the public -- the economy. Not only do 89 percent of all Americans think the economy is in good shape, but the number who think the economy is very good has jumped from 29 percent in July to 41 percent today.

As a result, Clinton's approval rating is now 67 percent. However, a majority say they do not respect Clinton.

The survey of 1,014 adult Americans was conducted January 8-10, 1999 and has a margin of sampling error of +/- three percentage points.

Do you want your senators to vote in favor of convicting President Clinton and removing him from office?

Yes    32%
No     63

The charge that Bill Clinton committed perjury by providing false and misleading testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky to Ken Starr's grand jury

Is true 79% 
Justifies removal from office40

The charge that Bill Clinton obstructed justice by trying to influence the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, his secretary and others in the Paula Jones lawsuit.

Is true 53% 
Justifies removal from office41

Now I'm going to read the two charges against Bill Clinton for which he was impeached by the House of Representatives and is now on trial for in the Senate. As I read each one, please say -- regardless of your view about removing him from office -- whether you think the charges against Clinton is true.

  Yes No
Perjury 79% 17%
Obstruction of justice 53 40

Now, for each of those charges, I would like you to tell me whether you think that, if true, the offense if or is not serious enough to justify Clinton's removal from office by the Senate.
  Yes No
Perjury 40% 58%
Obstruction of justice 41 56

Do you think Bill Clinton will get a fair trial in the Senate?

Yes    65%
No     30

Do you think the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate will mostly cooperate with each other or mostly fight with each other over the way the Senate impeachment trial is conducted?

Cooperate    34%
Fight           63

Investigating the President


Monday January 11, 1999

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