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Poll: Congress should have authority over U.S. involvement in Kosovo

By Keating Holland/CNN

May 3, 1999
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT)

WASHINGTON (May 3) -- Most Americans believe that Congress should have the final authority for deciding whether the U.S. should continue the current air strikes in Kosovo or send in ground troops. But Americans are evenly divided over whether they have more confidence in President Bill Clinton or the GOP leaders in Congress to set military policy in Yugoslavia.


Also:

Gore widens lead; Dole gains on Bush
Violence in media should be regulated

The latest CNN//USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 54 percent approve of how Clinton has handled the situation in Kosovo, but only 41 percent say they approve of how Congress has handled the issue.

Support for U.S. participation in the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia remains steady at 58 percent, with 41 percent saying they strongly favor the strikes and only 27 percent saying they strongly oppose them.

Most Americans oppose sending U.S. ground troops into a combat situation in the region -- unchanged since April -- and 42 percent strongly oppose that move. Two-thirds, however, favor sending U.S. ground troops to serve as peacekeepers in the region.

Seventy-one percent say that it is more important for Clinton and Congress to deal with domestic concerns such as Medicare and education than to deal with Kosovo, although 70 percent believe that they can deal effectively with both issues at the same time.

How has the Kosovo situation affected the president politically? Confidence in his ability as a military leader has gone down slightly since 1998, and the number of Americans who think that the next president should maintain the same policies as Clinton has dropped seven points since the NATO airstrikes started.

The public is still split on their view of the GOP, while a majority continue to have a favorable view of the Democratic party. Clinton's approval rating remains steady at 60 percent, down somewhat from his figures at the start of the year but still relatively robust for a president in his seventh year in office.

The survey of 1,014 adult Americans was conducted April 30-May 2. Questions have a margin of sampling error of +/- three percentage points, unless otherwise indicated. Note: Most interviews were conducted before the POWs were released, but analysis of the data indicates that the release had no immediate effect on the public's view of U.S. policy in Kosovo.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Clinton is handling the situation in Kosovo?

Approve 54%
Disapprove 41
Unsure 5

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling the situation in Kosovo?

Approve 41%
Disapprove 45
Unsure 14

Overall, who do you have more confidence in to set the United States' military policy toward Yugoslavia -- President Clinton or the Republican leaders in Congress?

Clinton 43%
GOP leaders 42

In your view, who should have the final authority for deciding whether the United States should continue the current airstrikes in Yugoslavia -- The Congress or President Clinton?

Congress 60%
Clinton 34

In your view, who should have the final authority for deciding whether the United States should send ground troops to serve in a combat situation in Yugoslavia -- The Congress or President Clinton?

Congress 64%
Clinton 31

Do you favor or oppose sending U.S. grounds troops along with troops from other NATO countries to serve in a combat situation in the region?

Favor 40%
Oppose 55

Strongly favor 26%
Not strongly favor 15
Not strongly oppose 13
Strongly oppose 42

Do you favor or oppose the United States being a part of NATO air and missile attacks against Serbian military targets in Yugoslavia?

Favor 58%
Oppose 36

Strongly favor 41%
Not strongly favor 17
Not strongly oppose 9
Strongly oppose 27

If a peace agreement is worked out between the Yugoslavian Serbs and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority would you favor or oppose sending U.S. ground troops along with troops from other countries to serve as peacekeepers in the region?

Favor 67%
Oppose 31

Which of the following matters do you feel is more important for President Clinton and Congress to focus on this year -- Dealing with the military operation in Yugoslavia and Kosovo or dealing with domestic concerns such as Medicare, education and crime?

Domestic concerns 71%
Kosovo 17

Do you believe it is possible for President Clinton and Congress to deal effectively with both Yugoslavia and domestic concerns at the same time?

Yes 70%
No 27

Which of the following statements better describes your opinion of the current U.S. military action against Yugoslavia -- The U.S. is at war with Yugoslavia or the U.S. is involved in a military conflict with Yugoslavia but is not at war?

The U.S. is at war with Yugoslavia 36%
The U.S. is involved in a military conflict but is not at war 61

Are you confident or somewhat confident in Bill Clinton as a military leader?

  Now1998
Yes 56%61%
No 4436

Thinking about the 2000 election, would you like to see the winning candidate maintain the same government policies that Clinton has followed?

  NowMarch
Yes 41%48%
No 4944

I'd like to get your overall opinion of some people and groups in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it.

  FavorableUnfavorable
Democrats 53%37%
Republicans 4744

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

Approve 60%
Disapprove 36

RELATED POLLS

Gore widens lead; Dole gains on Bush (5-3-99)

Violence in the media should be regulated (5-3-99)


RELATED STORIES

McCain resolution on Kosovo may be tabled (5-3-99)

Seventeen congressmen file suit against Clinton to end war (4-30-99)

House OKs bill restricting Clinton's ability to deploy ground troops (4-28-99)

Clinton warns Congress not to double Kosovo appropriations request (4-28-99)

Jackson to lead delegation of clergy on visit to Yugoslavia (4-26-99)


INTERACTIVE

Presidential hopefuls stake out positions on NATO airstrikes


VOTEWATCH

How did your reps vote on the Kosovo resolutions? Find out with Congressional Quarterly's "Votewatch." The vote database is searchable by name, zip code, date or subject.


CNN IN-DEPTH:

Strike on Yugoslavia

The Strike:

  • The Strike at a Glance
  • Multimedia gallery
  • Arsenal Databank

    Interactive Map:

  • The Strike: An Interactive Atlas
  • Kosovo and its Neighbors

    The Conflict:

  • E-Mails from Kosovo, Part III
  • From TIME: The Kosovo Catastrophe: In Pictures
  • Kosovo Primer

    Transcripts:

  • Clinton's speech
  • Milosevic's speech
  • More transcripts

    Key Players:

  • Interactive Who's Who

    Timeline:

  • Sequence of events

    Message Board:

  • Your thoughts...



  • MORE STORIES:

    Monday, May 3, 1999

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