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What Matters More Than Monica? The Economy


News: Analysis & Commentary: BW/HARRIS POLL

WHAT MATTERS MORE THAN MONICA? THE ECONOMY

Americans are disgusted with President Clinton's alleged behavior. And most think his power will be greatly reduced because of the Lewinsky scandal. But according to a Harris Poll of 1,009 adults taken on Sept. 9-13, Americans still approve of the job Clinton is doing--65% give him pretty good or excellent ratings and 82% believe the media have overplayed the Lewinsky affair. What worries Americans is the prospect of Asian contagion. Some 62% say the international crisis is very serious, and 70% believe the U.S. hasn't yet seen the worst of the fallout. Still, 82% believe the economy will be at least as strong as it is currently in a year.

RESIGNATION

Do you think President Clinton should resign or continue as President until his term ends?

Should resign 31% Don't know 2%

Should not resign 66%

THE SCANDAL

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements:

AGREE DISAGREE DON'T KNOWA. I am disgusted by what I

believe has been the President's

behavior with women 59% 37% 3%B. The media have given far too much

attention to the Monica Lewinsky affair 82% 17% 1%C. Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor,

is just out to get the President,

whatever it takes, fair or unfair 56% 41% 3%D. In judging President Clinton, we

should focus on how the country is

doing and his policies, not on his

private life 73% 24% 2%E. It will be difficult to believe

anything the President may say in

the future 55% 43% 1%F. Even though he lied, the President

should not be forced out of the

Presidency unless he has committed a

serious criminal offense 72% 26% 1%

POWER DRAIN

If President Clinton continues as President to the end of his term in January, 2001, do you think he will still have a lot of power or do you think his power will have been greatly reduced because of the Lewinsky affair?

Continue to have a lot of power 35% Don't know 2%

Power greatly reduced 62%

POLITICAL FALLOUT

How much do you think the Lewinsky affair will help the Republicans and harm the Democrats in this November's congressional election--a lot, some, or not at all?

A lot 27% Not at all 20%

Some 51% Don't know 1%

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Over the next 12 months, do you think the U.S. economy will improve, worsen, or stay about the same? SEPT. 1998 SEPT. 1997 SEPT. 1998 SEPT. 1997

Improve 18% 29% Stay about the same 64% 49%

Worsen 17% 18% Don't know 1% 4%

Some categories do not total 100% because of rounding or refusal to respond.

POCKETBOOK ISSUES

Where will you and your family be financially a year from now?

SEPT. 1998 SEPT. 1997 SEPT. 1998 SEPT. 1997

Better off 36% 50% Worse off 9% 10%

The same 55% 36% Don't know 1% 4%

GLOBAL CRISES

Many countries in Asia, and also Russia, are in a financial crisis. How serious do you think this crisis is?

Very serious 62% Not at all serious 2%

Somewhat serious 32% Don't know 1%

Not very serious 3%

CONTAGION FACTOR

How much do you think that the Asian and international financial crisis will damage the American economy?

A lot 23% Not at all 6%

Some 69% Don't know 2%

PROGNOSIS

The international financial crisis has already done some damage to the U.S. economy and stock market. Do you think the worst for the U.S. is over or that the worst is still to come?

The worst is over 27% Don't know 3%

Worst is still to come 70%

RECESSION

How likely do you think it is that the U.S. economy will go into a serious recession in the next two years?

Very likely 16% Not at all likely 9%

Somewhat likely 37% Don't know 1%

Not very likely 37%

CONSUMER SPENDING

In light of the market correction, will your family spend more, less, or about the same compared to a year ago?

More 32% Less 13% About the same 55%

INVESTMENT PLANS

Will your family invest more, less, or about as much of your money in stocks compared to a year ago?

More 11% Don't know 4%

Less 18% About the same 64%

Survey of 1,009 adults conducted Sept. 9-13, 1998, by Louis Harris & Associates Inc. Year-ago poll of 1,002 adults conducted Sept. 17-21, 1997.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS


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