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Poll Released on Campaign Finance

Thursday, March 13, 1997; 12:16 p.m. EST

NEW YORK (AP) -- A majority of Americans think money that may have been directed toward 1996 congressional and presidential campaigns by the Chinese government influenced U.S. political decisions, a poll found.

The NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll published today found that three-fourths have ``major concerns'' about donations from foreigners to the Democratic Party. That's more than the 68 percent who have ``major concerns'' about reports of Republicans offering potential donors special access to congressional committee leaders.

``The China connection is what really bothers most people,'' said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducted the survey Thursday to Monday with Republican pollster Robert Teeter.

In the poll, 53 percent said contributions that the Chinese government reportedly directed to U.S. campaign did influence decisions. President Clinton has repeatedly denied ever letting donors influence policy.

Like other national polls taken the past two weeks, the NBC-Journal poll found most people blaming both parties for campaign-finance abuses and not convinced that Clinton and the Democrats did anything different from what most politicians do.

The president's approval rating in the NBC-Journal poll was 57 percent, almost as high as the lofty 60 percent registered before the January inauguration.

The poll included 2,010 adults and has a margin of sampling error of less than 2.5 percentage points.

© Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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