Poll Tacks

Poll Tacks

Poll Tacks

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Sept. 14 1998 7:28 AM

Poll Tacks

The Los Angeles Times leads with its over-the-weekend poll indicating that despite the Starr revelations, the public's support for Clinton remains rather robust. USA Today's off-lead provides its weekend polling, with a similar upshot. The New York Times lead also looks at the popular reaction, summing it up as revulsion at Clinton's behavior, but reluctance to put the country through impeachment. USAT leads with the political reaction to the Starr report, claiming that over the weekend there was "no ground swell" in Congress for impeachment, although noting that prominent members from both parties called for censure of President Clinton, (a Washington Post front-pager also notes the congressional trend, while a NYT front-page story says this is becoming more acceptable to the Clinton camp as well). The WP, once again flashing its command of Beltway exits, leads with Sammy Sosa hitting two home runs to tie Mark McGwire.

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The LAT poll piece says just over 7 in 10 of those surveyed said the Starr report did not change their opinion of the president (of course, by itself, this means nothing, since they might have already thought he was an intern-bonking Mr. Hands). The poll also detects much public support for censure--34 percent. Censure gets the nod from 60 percent of USAT's sample. A WP front-page story puts the censure rate at nearly six in ten. These polls suggest a clear majority of Americans want Clinton to remain in office--but USAT's finds that 50 percent would favor impeachment if it could be proved that Clinton lied to the grand jury. Which is precisely what 60 percent of those polled by the LAT think Clinton did. Wackiest stat: 3 percent of the LAT sample say that after the Starr revelations, they now view Clinton more favorably. The LAT story puts the size of its sample--968 people--and its margin of error--4 percent--in its seventh paragraph. USAT puts its counterpart info--between 449 and 631 people and 4-5 percent for various polls--in its last paragraph, the twelfth.

The NYT lead says at least 25 newspapers have called for President Clinton's resignation. That number is added to today in a significant way: USAT's lead editorial says Clinton should quit because "a president who puts his interests above the nation's cannot lead."

The WP reports the Sosa home runs drove the hometown Cubs fans wild but in contrast to McGwire's 62nd last week, there was no ceremony and no comments over the public address system. In its Sosa off-lead, the NYT adds that unlike with McGwire's record shots, baseball authorities had not put identifying marks on the game balls Sosa hit out.

A WP inside piece reports that new Russian premier Yevgeny Primakov has pledged to turn his country towards a "socially oriented economy," which is being taken by some Russian reformers to mean a restoration of communist rule. Primakov stated his priorities include the timely payment of salaries and benefits, and that it is unacceptable for most Russians to live below the poverty line.

The Wall Street Journal's "The Outlook" is sounding what could be an early warning alarm for a new round of international economic crisis not related to the Asian turmoil. Several big British employers are laying workers off because of falling exports caused by Britain's surging pound. The pound's rise, explains the WSJ, stems from Britain's decision to opt out of the coming common European currency, the euro. The eleven euro countries were required to cut government spending and raise taxes, and Britain wasn't, with the result that U.K. interest rates are very high. In addition, continental skeptics about the euro have been buying pounds as a refuge.

The Post's Howard Kurtz notes that the Starr report confirms a number of Matt Drudge scoops: the existence of the semen-stained dress, the story about Lewinsky giving President Clinton oral sex while he was on the phone with Dick Morris, the use of a cigar in sexual activity, and a Clinton-Lewinsky tryst on Easter. But Kurtz still has to flash his guild card at Drudge and say that being accurate isn't enough, a story still has to be well-sourced. The response is obvious: How could Drudge have been so consistently right if he wasn't well-sourced? In fact, it's pretty clear from this list that his source was someone in Ken Starr's office. Which is trouble for Starr, but not for Drudge.

A high tech executive quoted in the WSJ and a letter writer to the NYT make the same point: Congress passed a bill last year to keep pornography off the Internet and yet, on Friday quickly voted to put it on.