Dec. 22, 1998

Turned Off Public Tuned Out Impeachment

Introduction and Summary It may have been only the second impeachment in history, but it was a non-starter to the American public. Not only did the President’s approval ratings go up following the House’s decision, but only 34% of Americans paid very close attention to the proceedings. More people followed news about the attack on […]

Dec. 14, 1998

Support for Clinton Unchanged By Judiciary Vote

Introduction and Summary Public support for the continuance of the Clinton presidency is unchanged by the deliberations and decisions of the House Judiciary Committee, but Americans appear unrattled by news of the President’s possible impeachment. Majorities say that their opinions about whether Bill Clinton should be removed from office were not swayed either by the […]

Nov. 13, 1998

Clinton Leadership Position Enhanced

Introduction and Summary In the wake of the congressional elections earlier this month, President Clinton’s job approval ratings inched upward, sentiment for impeachment remained low, and by almost a two-to-one margin Americans said that Clinton — not the Republican leaders in Congress — should now take the lead in solving the nation’s problems. This is […]

Nov. 1, 1998

Democrats Erase GOP Congressional Lead

Introduction and Summary A nationwide Pew Research Center survey finds voting intentions shifting significantly in favor of Democratic congressional candidates going into the final days of the 1998 midterm election campaign. For the first time this fall, the new survey shows likely voters equally divided between the two parties.1 In three previous surveys since late […]

Oct. 21, 1998

GOP Congressional Lead Not Undercut by Backlash

Introduction and Summary The House of Representatives’ decision to hold impeachment hearings has not significantly eroded support for Republicans. Despite a public backlash against proceeding with the inquiry, Republican congressional candidates continue to hold a small lead over Democrats among likely voters nationwide. Further, the Pew Research Center’s latest survey includes an oversample of voters […]

Sep. 30, 1998

White House Scandal Has Families Talking

Introduction and Summary The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal has American parents talking with their children about everything from whether the President lied or should be punished, to broader discussions about values and sex. Parents of younger children wait for their kids to start these conversations, while parents of teenagers are as likely to bring up the subject […]

Sep. 23, 1998

Backlash Softens Clinton Slide

Introduction and Summary Televised release of President Clinton’s grand jury testimony is stemming a decline in his public support. Strong opposition to the release of the grand jury videotape and increased disapproval of Republican congressional leadership accompany the reversal of the trend against Clinton. However, on balance, those who viewed the testimony have a negative […]

Sep. 17, 1998

Clinton Moral Authority Slips

Summary of Findings Phone Calls, Not Polls, May Sway Congress FINDING 1: The percentage of Americans saying President Clinton has the moral standing to lead the country fell in the wake of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report, leaving the country divided: 48% of the public say yes; 43% say no. In late August, a solid […]

Sep. 10, 1998

GOP Image Improves, But Congressional Race Remains Close

Introduction and Summary American voters divided their support for Republican and Democratic congressional candidates nearly equally in the weeks between President Clinton’s televised admission that he had an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky and news of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report to Congress on the matter. But with two months to go until the midterm […]

Aug. 27, 1998

It’s Still the Economy They Say

Introduction and Summary Americans credit a strong economy and, to a lesser extent, a good foreign policy as reasons why they approve of the president’s job performance, even though they increasingly dislike Bill Clinton personally. Further, strong public criticism of the way he has handled the Monica Lewinsky matter has failed to shake Clinton’s approval […]

Aug. 13, 1998

Lewinsky Testimony – A Yawn

Summary of Findings Monica Lewinsky’s testimony in the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Bill Clinton failed to spark any new interest in the scandal. Similarly, American attitudes toward the importance of the story or the merits of impeachment were unaffected by reports that she recanted her denial of a relationship with Clinton.

Aug. 7, 1998

More Rancorous, But Not “Do Nothing”

Introduction and Summary As Congress heads home for the summer campaign season, both parties face tough sells for their election themes. Despite Democratic charges of a Republican-led do-nothing Congress, Americans see the 105th Congress as no different than others in recent memory. But the GOP will have to shore up its image on issues, as […]

Aug. 4, 1998

Americans Unmoved by Prospect of Clinton, Lewinsky Testimony

Introduction and Summary Public interest in the White House sex scandal has not increased at all with the news that President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky will soon give grand jury testimony. Only 29% of Americans are following news of the controversy very closely, despite a torrent of media coverage. News interest is nearly identical to […]

Jun. 17, 1998

Don’t Blame Us

Introduction and Summary Political consultants have clear consciences: Most do not think campaign practices that suppress turnout, use scare tactics and take facts out of context are unethical. They are nearly unanimous — 97% — in the belief that negative advertising is not wrong, and few blame themselves for public disillusionment with the political process. […]

Jun. 15, 1998

Voters Not So Angry, Not So Interested

Introduction and Summary Americans are more mellow and less engaged by politics than they were four years ago, and that may mean low voter turnout in the fall. The number of people who follow what’s going on in government and politics is down sharply from 1994, as is the number who want to see change […]

Jun. 8, 1998

Internet News Takes Off

Introduction and Summary The Pew Research Center’s biennial news use survey finds that overall Americans are reading, watching and listening to the news just as often as they were two years ago. But the type of news Americans follow and the way they follow it are being fundamentally reshaped by technological change and the post-Cold […]

May. 16, 1998

Possible Consequences of Non-Response for Pre-Election Surveys

Survey Findings Pre-election polling is tricky work. A number of unknown factors can stand in the way of accurate predictions — problems with identifying registered and likely voters, uncertainties about voter turnout, and last-minute shifts in candidate preference. But estimating voter preferences in biracial elections has been especially difficult. Pre-election surveys, even those taken just […]

May. 10, 1998

Mixed Reaction to Post-Seinfeld Era

Survey Findings The situation comedy “Seinfeld” may be the most popular television show of its time, but only half of the people who watch it say they’ll miss it when it’s gone. And even fewer want friends like Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Today, 62% of the public says they watch the program, and, at […]

Apr. 20, 1998

Pew Values Update: American Social Beliefs 1997 – 1987

Introduction and Summary Americans continue to express a strong sense of individualism. They believe their destiny is in their own hands and that hard work will be rewarded. But they also believe that society should level the playing field so that everyone has an equal chance to get ahead. The public credits business for much […]

Apr. 17, 1998

Washington Leaders Wary of Public Opinion

Introduction and Summary Washington’s leaders and the American public are out of step with one another. Public distrust of government is paralleled by a belief among members of Congress, presidential appointees and senior civil servants that the American public is too ill-informed to make wise decisions about important issues. Washington leaders also significantly underestimate the […]