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Poll: Americans do not want Senate to convict Clinton

By Keating Holland/CNN

January 25, 1999
Web posted at: 5:10 p.m. EDT (1710 GMT)

WASHINGTON (January 25) -- By about a 2-1 margin, Americans continue to want their senators to vote against convicting President Bill Clinton and removing him from office, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

What impact will individual senators' votes have on their chances for re-election? Twice as many Americans say they are less likely to vote for a senator who wants to convict Clinton than say they are more likely to vote for that person.

But a majority of the country says that a senator's decision on Clinton would not affect their vote either way. Clinton faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges growing out of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Clinton's approval rating remains high despite the Senate trial, with 69 percent expressing approval of the way he is handling his job as president. But a majority say they have a negative opinion of Clinton as a person. One reason for Clinton's high approval rating is that 71 percent say the economy is the best it has been in their lifetimes.

A majority of people in the survey also say that non-economic conditions in the country are the best they have been in their lifetimes. Both those numbers are higher than they were before the State of the Union speech, particularly on the non-economic question, which showed that before Clinton's speech, a majority did not think that non-economic conditions were the best in their lifetimes.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,031 adult Americans on January 22-24, and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Here are the questions and results:

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.

As you may know, the House has now impeached Clinton and the case has been sent to the Senate for trial. What do you want your senators to do -- vote in favor of convicting Clinton and removing him from office, or vote against convicting Clinton so he will remain in office?

For Conviction 33%
Against Conviction 64

Suppose one of the U.S. senators from your state voted for convicting Bill Clinton and removing him from office. Would this make you more likely to vote for this senator in the next election, less likely, or wouldn't it affect your vote either way?

More likely to vote for them 16%
Less likely to vote for them 31
No effect on vote 51

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

Approve 69%
Disapprove 29

Thinking about Bill Clinton as a person, do you have a positive or negative opinion of him?

Positive 40%
Negative 53

Considering economic conditions in the country today, would you say the U.S. economy today is or is not the best it has ever been in your lifetime?

Yes 71%
No 24

Now thinking about everything to do with the country except for the economy, would you say the state of the country is or is not the best it has ever been in your lifetime?

Yes 52%
No 45

Best in Your Lifetime
  NowLast
week
Economic conditions 71%60%
Non-economic conditions 5243
Sampling error: +/-3% pts


Investigating the President

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Monday, January 25, 1999

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