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Poll: Good News For Republicans In Election Year

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (April 20) -- If the congressional elections were held today, registered voters would support Democratic candidates and Republican candidates in roughly equal proportions, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

That's good news for the GOP, since they currently control the House of Representatives, and represents a significant turnaround from several polls conducted earlier this month which showed the Democrats with a double-digit lead.

Also in this poll:

More good news for the Republicans: 58 percent of the general public say that the Republican Congress has been a success since that party first took control of Congress in 1995, the highest that figure has ever been. And unlike 1994, a majority of all Americans believe that most members of the House deserve re-election, good news for incumbents of both parties.

There is also good news, as well as bad news, for House Speaker Newt Gingrich: Americans are evenly split over whether they approve or disapprove of how he has handled his job as Speaker of the House. The bad news is that his approval rating is down a bit from January. The good news is that it is nearly double what it was this time last year.

The survey of 1,007 adult Americans, including 855 registered voters, was conducted April 17-19, 1998 and most questions have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Registered Voters' Choice for Congress


Now January
Democratic
Republican

46%
45%
51%
40%
Asked of registered voters
Sampling error: +/-3.5% pts
Opinion of GOP Congress


Now 1997
Success
Failure

58%
30%
46%
41%
Asked of all Americans
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Do Most Members of Congress Deserve Re-election?


Now 1994
Yes
No

56%
28%
39%
45%
Asked of all Americans
Sampling error: +/-3% pts
Gingrich Approval Rating


Approve Disapprove
Now
January
March, 1997

45%
48%
25%
46%
41%
63%

Good news for Democrats since '94

The news is not all bad for Democrats, although they have lost their significant lead over GOP candidates in congressional races.

The public is split over which party can do a better job of keeping the country prosperous, a significant improvement over 1994, when the Democrats lost control of the House. The public also believes that the Democrats can manage the federal government effectively, a big change from 1994. Of course, Americans also feel the same way about the Republican party.

And President Bill Clinton remains personally popular. His approval rating is now at 63 percent. Record numbers of Americans approve of how he is handling the economy and foreign affairs.

And, in a big change from 1994, 47 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supports Clinton; only 40 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes Clinton.

Which Party Can Keep U.S. Prosperous?


Now 1994
Republicans
Democrats

43%
42%
48%
38%
Can Democrats Manage Government Effectively?


Now 1994
Yes
No

55%
38%
34%
62%
Can Republicans Manage Government Effectively?


Now 1994
Yes
No

61%
31%
42%
53%
Approve of How Clinton Is Handling...
Economy
Foreign Affairs

73%
63%
Clinton Approval Rating
Approve
Disapprove

63%
31%
More Likely To Vote For Candidate Who...


Now 1994
Supports Clinton
Opposes Clinton

47%
40%
39%
51%

Investigating Clinton

Clinton's approval rating remains high although a majority of the country believes a number of allegations made against him: 64 percent think it is definitely true or probably true that Clinton had sex with Monica Lewinsky.

Sixty percent think that it is definitely or probably true that he lied under oath about something while president, and 50 percent think the same about allegations that he obstructed justice while in office.

But overall, only 24 percent believe that he did something illegal in any of the actions being investigated by Independent Counsel Ken Starr. More, 47 percent, believe he did something immoral but not illegal.

Even so, 64 percent want the investigations into these allegations to stop now. On the issue of executive privilege, two-thirds believe he should drop his claim of executive privilege and have his aides answer all questions being investigated.

Allegation That Clinton Had Sex With Monica Lewinsky
Definitely true
Probably true
Not true

17%
47%
26%
Allegation That Clinton Made Advance Toward Kathleen Willey
Definitely true
Probably true
Not true

13%
35%
39%
Allegation That Clinton Lied Under Oath
Definitely true
Probably true
Not true

21%
39%
31%
Allegation That Clinton Obstructed Justice
Definitely true
Probably true
Not true

17%
33%
42%
Allegations That Starr Is Investigating
Clinton did something illegal
Clinton did something immoral
Clinton did nothing wrong

24%
47%
24%
Should Clinton Drop Claim Of Executive Privilege?
Yes
No

66%
29%

In Other News

Monday April 20, 1998

Presidential Wannabes Hit Iowa District Caucuses
Clinton Tries To Salvage Tobacco Legislation
Sources: Starr Trying To Compel Secret Service Lawyer To Talk
Conservative Political Group Buys Reagan Ranch
No Federal Funds For Needle Exchange Efforts
Jones, Clinton Set To Attend Annual Media Dinner

Poll:
Good News For Republicans In Election Year

Transcript:
The 'Evans & Novak' Interview: Sen. John Ashcroft


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