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Poll: Majority Says Gingrich Loan 'Inappropriate'

Most also think Reno should have appointed fund-raising counsel

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (April 18) -- A majority of Americans think it was inappropriate for House Speaker Newt Gingrich to pay his $300,000 penalty by taking a loan from Bob Dole, according to a new CNN/TIME poll.

Only 43 percent say it was appropriate for the Georgia Republican to borrow the money from Dole. The public is more closely split over whether it was appropriate for Dole to offer the loan to Gingrich. Forty-five percent say it was appropriate for Dole to do so; 48 percent say it was not.

The poll of 508 adult Americans was conducted April 17. It has a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points.

Gingrich Taking a $300,000 Loan From Dole
Appropriate 43%
Inappropriate 51%

Dole Offering a $300,000 Loan to Gingrich
Appropriate 45%
Inappropriate 48%

Currently, only 28 percent of the public approves of the way Gingrich is handling his job as speaker of the House. That's his lowest approval rating to date, and represents a 5-point drop since early January. It's not clear from the poll whether this was due in any way to the announcement of the loan from Dole.

Gingrich has had quite a come-down since his first 100 days as speaker. In April 1995, 58 percent said he should remain as speaker. Today, 58 percent want him replaced by another Republican; only a third want to see him remain in charge of the House. One reason is that only a third say he is honest and trustworthy enough to be speaker.

Gingrich Approval Rating
Now 28%
January 33%

Should Gingrich Be Replaced as Speaker?
Now April 1995
Yes 58% 32%
No 33% 58%

Is Gingrich Honest Enough To Be Speaker?
Yes 32%
No 57%


Another poll conducted April 16-17 suggests that most Americans think Attorney General Janet Reno should have appointed an independent counsel to investigate the campaign fund-raising activities of members of the Clinton Administration, although only 37 percent strongly feel that way.

More than half, 51 percent, say that Reno decided against appointing an independent counsel mostly to protect Clinton; only a third say she came to that decision mostly based on the facts in the matter. The poll of 1,040 Americans had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Should Reno Have Appointed An Independent Counsel?
Yes 57%
No 33%

Reno's Decision on Independent Counsel
Based on facts 34%
To protect Clinton 51%

Through it all, Clinton's approval rating has remained virtually unchanged. It now stands at 56 percent, slightly higher than the 52 percent Ronald Reagan scored in April of his second term in 1985. Clinton's approval rating is down from his Inaugural high of 62 percent, but that is to be expected as the "second honeymoon" fades. More telling is that he has not lost any support since mid-March, when he approval rating was at 57 percent.

Clinton Approval Rating
Approve 56%
Disapprove 35%

Other Polls:

President Clinton Is America's Most Admired Man (12/30/97)
Americans Support U.S. Role In Bosnia (12/22/97)
Reno Should Have Appointed Independent Counsel (12/3/97)
Americans Want Independant Counsel (11/24/97)
Virginia Exit Poll: Governor's Race (11/6/97)
New Jersey Exit Poll: Governor's Race (11/4/97)
New York City Exit Poll: Mayor's Race (11/4/97)
Clinton, Gore Approval Ratings Rise (10/30/97)
America's Leaders Like America's Course (10/13/97)
Americans Want Campaign Reform (9/29/97)
Bad, Good News For Gore (9/12/97)
Congress Returns With High Approval Rating (8/28/97)
More Americans Want Jones vs. Clinton Settled Out Of Court (8/14/97)
Credit For Balanced Budget Deal Goes To GOP (8/1/97)
Clinton, GOP Deserve Credit For Budget (7/28/97)
GOP Congress Out Of Touch, Favors Wealthy (6/30/97)
People Still Care About Washington Scandals (6/3/97)
High Court Correct On Jones Case (6/2/97)
Public Supports Budget Deal By 2-1 Margin (5/8/97)
Few Americans Volunteer Regularly (4/25/97)
Most Say No To Wheelchair In F.D.R. Memorial (4/24/97)
Clinton's Approval Suffering Little (4/21/97)
Majority Says Gingrich Loan 'Inappropriate' (4/18/97)
Clinton's Approval Rating Remains High (3/27/97)
Gore's Poll Numbers Dip (3/14/97)
WSJ/NBC Poll On Fund-Raising (3/13/97)
Is Clinton's Honeymoon Ending? (2/27/97)
Americans Are Split On Clinton's Fund-Raising Tactics (2/27/97)
For 2000, Powell's No. 1 With GOP Voters (2/21/97)
President's Approval Rating Stays At High Levels (2/8/97)
New Yorkers Strongly Support Pataki (2/7/97)
Public Confidence High In Clinton On Most Issues (2/7/97)
Clinton Rides High On Issues Public Cares About Most (2/3/97)
Clinton Approval Rating At All-Time High (1/16/97)
Polls - Campaign '96

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