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  Washington Post-ABC News Poll, October 1997

Wednesday, October 15, 1997

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on random telephone interviews with 1,515 adults on October 9-13. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error is, however, only one source of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Interviewing was conducted by Chilton Research of Radnor, Pa.

Presidential Approval | Congressional Approval | Federal Priorities
Favorability: Clinton, Gore, Reno | Honesty: Clinton, Gore
Fund-raising Allegations | Reno's Investigation | Senate Probe | Interest Level
White House Videos | Campaign Finance Reform | The Economy

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


           -------Approve-----------    -------Disapprove--------   No
           NET   Strongly   Somewhat    NET   Somewhat   Strongly  opin.
10/13/97    59     NA         NA         36      NA        NA        6
8/27/97     58     NA         NA         37      NA        NA        5
7/8/97      64     NA         NA         31      NA        NA        5
6/8/97      59     NA         NA         36      NA        NA        5
4/24/97     56     NA         NA         39      NA        NA        5
3/25/97     56     NA         NA         33      NA        NA       11
3/9/97      55     NA         NA         41      NA        NA        4
10/8/96*    58     NA         NA         38      NA        NA        4
10/8/96**   59     NA         NA         37      NA        NA        4
9/4/96**    57     NA         NA         38      NA        NA        4
8/5/96      59     NA         NA         37      NA        NA        4
6/30/96     56     NA         NA         39      NA        NA        5
5/22/96     58     20         37         39      17        22        3
3/31/96     52     21         30         40      16        25        8
3/17/96     53     19         34         45      19        26        2
3/10/96     55     23         32         40      17        24        4
4/21/96     51     NA         NA         43      NA        NA        6
1/7/96      53     22         31         43      16        28        4
11/19/95    54     NA         NA         41      NA        NA        5
11/13/95    54     20         34         41      20        21        5
10/1/95     52     17         35         43      19        24        5
7/17/95     51     14         37         45      20        25        4
6/8/95      47     NA         NA         45      NA        NA        8
5/14/95     56     20         36         41      23        18        3
3/19/95     52     17         35         45      19        26        3
3/5/95      46     NA         NA         49      NA        NA        4
1/29/95     54     20         34         43      21        22        3
1/4/95      45     13         31         51      22        29        5
12/20/94    44     NA         NA         50      NA        NA        6
11/6/94**   52     20         32         43      16        26        5
10/31/94    48     17         31         49      19        30        3
10/23/94    49     18         31         48      19        29        4
10/9/94     45     13         32         51      21        30        4
9/25/94     44     13         31         51      20        31        5
9/11/94     46     15         30         51      19        33        3
8/16/94     44     NA         NA         51      NA        NA        5
8/7/94      47     17         31         47      20        27        5
6/26/94     50     16         34         44      17        28        6
5/15/94     51     19         32         44      17        28        4
3/27/94     57     23         34         41      16        25        3
3/22/94     47     NA         NA         45      NA        NA        7
3/08/94     52     NA         NA         40      NA        NA        8
2/27/94     58     20         38         38      15        23        4
1/23/94     56     22         34         34      14        20       10
1/9/94      59     20         39         36      15        21        4
12/19/93    58     22         36         40      20        20        3
11/14/93    49     16         33         45      20        25        6
10/31/93    52     17         35         41      17        24        7
10/10/93    51     20         31         43      18        25        5
10/3/93     52     19         33         36      14        22       12
9/19/93     51     NA         NA         41      NA        NA        8
8/8/93      45     16         29         51      19        32        4
6/28/93     43     13         29         50      19        31        7
6/15/93     45     NA         NA         48      NA        NA        7
5/23/93     46     17         30         48      18        30        6
4/26/93     59     22         37         39      17        21        2
2/28/93     60     28         32         33      11        22        7
2/23/93     63     28         35         30      11        19        7
2/14/93     54     23         31         31      15        16       15

* Likely voters
** Registered Voters

1.1 Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is doing its job?


               Approve        Disapprove        No opinion
10/13/97          36              57                 7
7/8/97            40              53                 6
4/24/97           40              53                 7
3/9/97            35              60                 5
8/5/96            42              52                 7
6/30/96           35              58                 7
5/22/96           35              60                 5
3/10/96           30              64                 6
1/7/96            31              65                 5
11/19/95          27              68                 5
10/1/95           32              65                 3
7/17/95           34              63                 3
3/19/95           39              56                 5
1/29/95           42              52                 6
10/31/94          21              72                 8
10/23/94          18              78                 4
9/11/94           24              70                 5
6/26/94           34              61                 5
3/27/94           35              62                 3
2/27/94           32              64                 4
1/23/94           29              60                11
11/14/93          28              66                 6
8/8/93            33              64                 3
4/26/93           30              69                 2
1/17/93           29              66                 6
4/9/92            17              78                 5
3/18/92           19              76                 5
3/8/92            22              73                 6
2/2/92            32              64                 4
12/15/91          35              59                 6
10/21/91          45              50                 5
6/2/91            49              46                 5
10/14/90          34              63                 3
2/4/90            41              55                 4
1/16/90           39              55                 6
8/21/89           42              53                 5
5/23/89           54              44                 2
2/14/89           53              44                 3
1/23/88*          43              53                 4
6/1/87*           56              40                 4
6/22/85*          54              37                 9
5/83*             33              43                24
6/81*             38              40                22
6/79*             19              61                20
9/78*             29              49                22
6/77*             34              42                24
6/75*             29              54                17
8/74*             48              35                17

* Gallup

3. I'm going to mention a few things the federal government could try to accomplish. For each one, please tell me whether you think it should or should not be a goal for government to accomplish.

(If should, then ask:) Should it be a major goal or a minor goal for government?

(Get answer, then ask:)Do you think the government will be able to get that done, or not?

Should it be a major goal or a minor goal for government?


10/13/97
                           -------Goal--------    Not a      No
                           NET   Major   Minor     goal    opinion
A. Making sure the Social
Security system is
financially sound           97    88       9         3        -
B. Finding ways to give
all Americans health
care insurance              88    74      14        11        1
C. Reducing federal
income taxes                90    64      26         9        1
D. Reforming election
campaign finance laws       84    44      39        14        3
E. Increasing efforts to
fight crime and drugs       95    87       8         4        -
F. Protecting the
environment more            93    69      24         7        -

Do you think the government will be able to get that done, or not?


10/13/97
                                                 Yes    No    No opin.
A. Making sure the Social Security
system is financially sound                       48    49       3
B. Finding ways to give all Americans health
care insurance                                    34    63       3
C. Reducing federal income taxes                  29    68       3
D. Reforming election campaign finance laws       37    59       3
E. Increasing efforts to fight crime and drugs    37    60       3
F. Protecting the environment more                47    50       3

4. I'm going to read you a few names. For each, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of that person, or perhaps you don't know enough to say. How about (Read name)?


Summary table:
                Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
Bill Clinton       59           37             4
Al Gore            45           40            15
Janet Reno         46           32            22

Trend (where available):


Bill Clinton
                    Favorable    Unfavorable    No opinion
10/13/97               59            37               4
9/10/97                57            38               5
3/9/97                 60            38               3
9/4/96**               58            38               4
6/30/96                56            38               5
10/30/95               54            41               6
7/17/95                59            38               3
6/8/95                 53            43               4
3/19/95                55            42               3
10/31/94               51            44               5
5/15/94                57            40               3
3/27/94                59            37               4
1/23/94                60            32               8
11/14/93               58            37               5
11/11/93               52            43               6
8/8/93                 56            39               5
4/26/93                59            29              12
2/23/93                59            30              11
1/17/93                68            20              11
10/18/92*              56            36               8
9/27/92*               55            36               9
8/23/92**              54            36              10
7/19/92**              58            23              18
7/8/92                 52            33              15
6/7/92                 41            38              21
3/18/92                37            37              26
3/11/92                39            31              30
2/2/92                 37            24              39
1/27/92                23            11              66
10/21/91               13             9              78

* Likely voters
** Registered voters


Al Gore
                  Favorable    Unfavorable    No opinion
10/13/97               45          40          15
9/10/97                49          33          19
4/24/97                53          29          19
3/9/97                 56          29          15
3/19/95                57          27          16
10/31/94               41          37          22
5/15/94                58          27          15
3/27/94                57          25          18
11/14/93               56          28          15
8/23/92**              52          19          29
7/19/92**              55          12          33

** Registered voters

7. Are you satisfied that Clinton has the honesty and integrity to serve effectively as president?


                     Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97              55     44      2
3/9/97                53     45      2
10/9/94               53     44      3
8/16/94               53     45      2
1/23/94               63     31      5
1/9/94                60     36      4
1/17/93               74     23      3
11/1/92*              49     44      7
10/21/92*             51     41      8
8/23/92*              52     43      5
7/19/92*              61     27     11
7/15/92*              52     40      8
3/18/92**             42     45     12
3/11/92               49     41     10

* Likely voters
** Registered voters

8. And do you think Gore has the honesty and integrity to serve effectively as president some day?


          Yes     No   No opin.
10/13/97   48     43       9
9/10/97    49     40      11
3/9/97     59     32      10

9. Do you think Gore is more honest than Clinton, less honest, or what?


                              No            No
          More    Less       Diff.*       opinion
10/13/97   34      17         39            10
9/10/97    34      12         44            11
3/9/97     41      12         35            12

* Voluntary

10. Have you heard or read about Bill Clinton allowing donors who contributed money to his re-election campaign to stay overnight in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House, or inviting donors to attend private receptions and coffees at the White House?


          Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97   81     19      -
3/9/97     84     15      -

11. Do you think it was appropriate or not appropriate for Clinton to use the White House as a tool in fundraising?


          Appropriate    Not Appropriate    No Opinion
10/13/97       28              68                4
3/9/97         24              72                4

12. Do you think he did anything illegal, or not?


          Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97   34     55      11
3/9/97     31     59      10

13. As you may know, the Justice Department is looking into Clinton's fundraising activities in the last election. Some people have said this should be examined by an independent special counsel, not by the Justice Department. What do you think -- should it be investigated by the Justice Department or by an independent special counsel?


              Justice       Independent         No
            Department    Special Counsel    Opinion
10/13/97         33            60                7

14. Just your best guess, do you think the Clinton administration changed government policies for some of the major donors to Clinton's 1996 presidential campaign, or not?


          Changed    Did not change   No opinion
10/13/97     48           36              16
3/9/97       47           40              13

COMPARE TO: In your view, during the 1996 presidential campaign, did the Clinton administration:

A. Actually change some government policies in exchange for campaign donations, or

B. Did the Clinton administration just give access to major campaign donors, but make no actual changes in government policy.


          Changed    Special Access   No opinion
2/2/97*     28             41             31

* Gallup

15. Do you think the campaign contribution situation has interfered with Clinton's ability to serve effectively as president?

(IF INTEFERE, ASK:) Is that interference a great deal or only somewhat?


            -----------Interfered----------     Did not      No
            NET    A great deal    Somewhat    Interfere    Opinion
10/13/97     40       15              25           56         3

COMPARE TO:

Do you think the campaign contribution situation will interfere with Clinton's ability to serve effectively as president?

(IF the respondent says "Interfere" ask:) Is that interfere a great deal or only somewhat?


           ---------Interfere---------       Not         No
           NET   Great deal   Somewhat    Interfere    opinion
1/15/97     26        8          18           73          1

16. Have you heard or read about Al Gore making phone calls from his office in the White House asking political donors for campaign contributions?


          Yes     No   No opin.
10/13/97   66     33      1
9/10/97    64     35      -
3/9/97     62     38      -

17. Do you think it was appropriate or not appropriate for Gore to ask political donors directly for campaign contributions?


          Appropriate    Not Appropriate    No opinion
10/13/97       31              64                 5
9/10/97        25              64                11
3/9/97         32              62                 6

18. Do you think what he did was illegal, or not?


          Yes     No   No opin.
10/13/97   33     54      13
9/10/97    34     45      21
3/9/97     31     56      13

19. As you may know, the Justice Department is looking into Gore's fundraising activities in the last election. Some people have said this should be examined by an independent special counsel, not by the Justice Department. What do you think -- should it be investigated by the Justice Department or by an independent special counsel?


           Justice Dept.  Indpt. special counsel   No opinion
10/13/97        34                  61                  5
9/10/97         36                  54                 10

COMPARE TO:

As you may know, the Justice Department is looking into the Democratic National Campaign committee's foreign campaign contribution situation. Some people have said this should be examined by an independent special counsel,not by the Justice Department. What do you think -- should it be investigated by the Justice Department or by an independent special counsel?


           Justice Dept.  Indpt. special counsel   No opinion
3/9/97          34                  60                  6
12/9/96         41                  56                  3

20. As you may know, Reno has had Justice Department investigators looking into campaign fund raising practices in the 1996 election campaign. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Reno has been handling that investigation?


            Approve    Disapprove    No opinion
10/13/97      42           38             20

21. Which of these two statements best describes your view of Reno's handling of the investigation:

Statement A: Her main goal seems to be finding out whether illegal activities occurred.

Statement B: Her main goal seems to be protecting the Clinton Administration.


            Statement A    Statement B     Both*       No opinion
10/13/97        48             37            2             12

* Voluntary

22. As you may know, for most of this year, there has been a Senate investigation into campaign fund raising practices in the 1996 election campaign. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Senate has been handling that investigation?


            Approve    Disapprove    No opinion
10/13/97      38           47             14

23. Which of these two statements best describes your view of the Senate's handling of its investigation:

Statement A: The main goal of committee members from both parties seems to be finding out whether illegal activities occurred.

Statement B: The main goal of committee members from both parties seems to be using the investigation for political attacks.


            Statement A    Statement B     Both*    No opinion
10/13/97        24             66            2           7

* Voluntary

24. How closely have you been following news about all the investigations of campaign financing in the 1996 election -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely or not closely at all?


           ------Closely--------   -------Not Closely--------     No
           NET   Very   Somewhat   NET   Not too    Not at all   opin.
10/13/97   56     10       46      44       30          14         -

25. Which best describes your view of these campaign investigations:

A. They are necessary steps to reforming the way federal elections are financed.

B. The country would be better off without the investigations even if it means federal election campaign financing is not reformed.


            Statement A    Statement B    No opinion
10/13/97        71             25               3

26. Which best describes how the Clinton administration has been responding to the Justice Department and Senate Committee campaign financing investigations -- cooperating most of the time or dragging its feet most of the time:


            Cooperating    Dragging its feet   No opinion
10/13/97        33                 62               5

27. Have you heard or read about the video-tapes of campaign fund-raising gather


          Yes     No   No opin.
10/13/97   69     31      -

28. Do those video tapes tend to make you think those fund-raising gatherings were worse than you thought, better than you thought or what?


            Worse    Better      No difference*     No opinion
10/13/97     35        15              33               17

* Voluntary

29. Clinton said it was just an accident that the video tapes were not found until recently. Just your best guess, do you think it was accidental that the tapes were not found until now or do you think their existence was hidden on purpose?


            Accidental    Hidden on purpose    No opinion
10/13/97        22             72                   5

30. Do you think Clinton is serious about wanting to reform the system of financing political campaigns, or not?


          Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97   42     55      4
3/9/97     48     46      6

31. Do you think the Republicans in Congress are serious about wanting to reform the system of financing political campaigns, or not?


          Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97   39     56      5
3/9/97     43     50      8

31.1 Do you think the Democrats in Congress are serious about wanting to reform the system of financing political campaigns, or not?


          Yes     No   No Opin.
10/13/97   40     56      4

32. Would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate for your U.S. Congressional District if that person voted for election campaign finance reform or wouldn't that have much effect on your vote?


            More    Less    No effect    No opinion
10/13/97     31       4        62             2

33. Should labor unions have to get permission from individual union members before using some of a member's union dues for political campaign donations or should unions be able to donate money without such permission?


               Need       Do not need       No
            permission    permission      opinion
10/13/97        82            16             2

34. On another subject, would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good or poor?


          ----Excellent/Good-----    -----Not so good/Poor-----     No
          NET   Excellent    Good    NET    Not so good    Poor    opin.
10/13/97   61       12        49      39        27          11       -

35. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as excellent, good, not so good or poor?


          ----Excellent/Good-----    -----Not so good/Poor-----     No
          NET   Excellent    Good    NET    Not so good    Poor    opin.
10/13/97   63        7        56      37        27          11       -


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