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August 15, 1998

Clinton's Options In Grand Jury Testimony Appear Limited, But Not Lethal

Americans Give Conflicting Signals About Impact of Perjury
by Lydia Saad


A new Gallup poll, taken days before Bill Clinton is scheduled to testify in Ken Starr’s investigation, finds the President still enjoying solid public approval ratings for the job he doing as president and Americans still resistant to holding him publicly accountable for possible sexual misdeeds. Despite widespread public belief that Clinton probably had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and that he possibly lied about it under oath, only 20% of Americans currently think Clinton should be impeached and removed from office.

Perhaps most important for Clinton prior to his testimony on Monday, he continues to receive job approval ratings that are among the highest of his presidency. Sixty-five percent of Americans now approve of the job he is doing as president, including 43% of Americans who strongly approve. Also, 60% have a favorable impression of him personally.

Don’t Mind Extramarital Sex, but Perjury Could be Serious

Clinton has strongly denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Three-quarters of Americans, however, now tend to believe that Clinton and Lewinsky probably had sexual relations of some kind, a number up slightly from last month. Additionally, 64% tend to think he lied under oath as president–presumably in his Paula Jones deposition. Nevertheless, most Americans say their personal "confidence in Clinton as president" will remain regardless of whether he admits to or denies a sexual relationship with Lewinsky in his grand jury testimony next week.

There are indications, however, that clear-cut evidence Clinton lied under oath could spell trouble for him. Fifty-six percent of Americans say that if it turns out to be true that Clinton lied under oath in the Paula Jones case, that would be serious enough to consider impeaching and removing him from office. Similarly, 60% say that lying now before the Starr grand jury might warrant impeachment.

Among the list of options available to Clinton in handling his upcoming appearance, two strategies deemed not advisable from a public relations standpoint are either canceling his appearance before the grand jury entirely, or appearing but refusing to answer questions. More than half of Americans say they would lose confidence in Clinton as president if he were to follow such an obstructionist route.

Clinton Has Strong Assets
Despite the potential impact which perjury could have on public opinion about impeachment issues, there is ample evidence in Gallup Poll data that Clinton’s chances of politically surviving his upcoming testimony before the grand jury in Ken Starr’s investigation are relatively good.

One strong advantage for Clinton is that his political stock with the American public far exceeds that of his adversaries in this controversy. In addition to his overall job rating of 65%, 75% of Americans approve of the way President Clinton is managing the government, and 70% approve of his positions on major issues.

By contrast, both Monica Lewinsky and Ken Starr have extremely low personal ratings, which continue to decline. When she first emerged into public view in January, 30% of Americans had a favorable view of Lewinsky and 50% an unfavorable one. Today only 13% feel favorably toward the former intern, and 72% unfavorably. Throughout the year roughly one-quarter of Americans have had a favorable view of Ken Starr, but his unfavorable rating has grown from 24% in January to 54% today. Similarly, a majority of Americans now disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the controversy, and only 33% approve–down from 44% who approved in January.

A second factor working in Clinton’s favor is that most Americans say Clinton’s private sexual matters are not relevant to their evaluation of the job he is doing in office. Indeed only 26% say they would lose confidence in Clinton as president if he were to testify under oath that he had sex with Lewinsky. Less than half, 47%, think that having sex "with a former White House intern in the Oval Office" is relevant to how Clinton should be judged as president.

Third, while large majorities of Americans tend to believe Clinton had sex with Lewinsky and that he has lied about it under oath, only 21% and 19%, respectively, currently say these allegations are "definitely" true; the rest say they are "probably" true. This number has remained low despite recent reports of Monica Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony describing these alleged relations. This seems to suggest a public reluctant to fully accept that the charges are true, so long as Clinton denies them. Whether Americans would find DNA evidence linking Clinton to Lewinsky persuasive is an open question, but it seems clear that without solid evidence, Americans would rather give Clinton the benefit of the doubt.

This is not to say, however, that Americans have respect for Clinton’s character. He receives exceptionally low marks on personal morality, with barely a third of the public saying they approve of the moral example he sets for the country and two-thirds saying they disapprove. Americans are also closely split over whether they respect Clinton or not, with 53% saying yes and 44% saying no. And in a Gallup poll conducted last week, only 34% said the term "honest and trustworthy" applied to the president.

Survey Methods
The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,276 adults, 18 years and older, conducted August 10-12, 1998. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. Polls such as this one which are conducted in one evening are especially subject to additional non-sampling error.

How strongly would you say you [approve/disapprove]—of the way Clinton is handling his job as president—would you say very strongly, or not so strongly?

Very strongly approve 43%
Not so strongly approve 22
Not so strongly disapprove 8
Not so strongly approve 22
Very strongly disapprove 22
Not so strongly approve 22
No opinion 5

I'm going to read some ways Bill Clinton might handle this situation. For each one please tell me whether that action by Clinton would or would not cause you to LOSE confidence in him as president. [ROTATE A-D]?

A. If he were to testify under oath before the grand jury that he DID have sex with Monica Lewinsky

Lose confidence 26%
Not lose 71
No opinion 3

B. If he were to testify under oath before the grand jury that he did NOT have sex with Monica Lewinsky

Lose confidence 33%
Not lose 60
No opinion 7

C. If he were to appear before the grand jury, but refuse to answer questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky

Lose confidence 53%
Not lose 44
No opinion 3

D. If he were to cancel his upcoming appearance before the grand jury and refuse to testify

Lose confidence 60%
Not lose 37
No opinion 3

Next I'm going to read some things that may or may not be true about President Clinton. For each one, please say whether, if true, you would consider it serious enough to consider removing President Clinton from office. First, ... Next, ... [ROTATE A-F] BASED ON FORM B; N = 648; MARGIN OF ERROR = ± 4 PCT PTS.

A. If he had sex with a former White House intern in the Oval Office

Yes 31%
No 67
No opinion 2

B. If he lied to the American people about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky

Yes 46%
No 52
No opinion 2

C. If he tried to influence Lewinsky to lie under oath about their relationship

Yes 59%
No 40
No opinion 1

D. If he was engaged in improper financial dealings while governor of Arkansas

Yes 59%
No 37
No opinion 4

E. If he lied under oath as a witness in the Paula Jones case

Yes 56%
No 40
No opinion 4

F. If he lies under oath before the grand jury in the investigation being conducted by Ken Starr

Yes 60%
No 37
No opinion 3


jewn McCain

ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

killed 264 MILLION Christians in WWII

killed 64 million Christians in Russia

holocaust denier extraordinaire--denying the Armenian holocaust

millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
millions dead in Iraq

42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

serial killer of 13 Christians

the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

framed Christians for anti-semitism, got caught
left 350 firemen behind to die in WTC

legally insane debarred lawyer CENSORED free speech

mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

10,000 Whites DEAD from one jew LIE

moser HATED by jews: he followed the law Jesus--from a "news" person!!

1000 fold the child of perdition


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