In the twilight of his presidency, Mr. Clinton receives a 59 percent job approval rating from the American public - 11 points higher than former President Ronald Reagan received at the same point in his presidency.
|Presidential Job Approval|
|Clinton - Now|
|Reagan - 5/88|
The American public believes that Mr. Clinton still has the desire to be president, and would run if he could. Given a hypothetical scenario in which there is no 22nd amendment to the Constitution, 66 percent of American adults say that Mr. Clinton would run for office again.
They are less sure, however, about his chances for success in such a scenario. Only 32 percent of Americans think he would win another term in office, while 56 percent think he would not. Democrats are divided: 43 percent think he would win, 46 percent think he would not.
|What If Clinton Could Run Again?|
|Would he run again?|
|Would he win?|
|Would you consider voting for him?|
Even though we asked people to suspend the reality of the 22nd amendment in these questions, it is unclear that they can actually do so: the last time a hypothetical third-term question was asked about a two-term president - Ronald Reagan - Americans answered in much the same way they do about Mr. Clinton. When asked whether they would consider voting for Mr. Clinton for a third term, nearly four in ten say they would, but over half say they would not. When asked in an April 1988 Associated Press Poll whether they would vote for Reagan if he could run again, 32 percent said yes.
Despite the public's protestations about voting for Mr. Clinton for a third term, some measures indicate that he would do better than they admit. On presidential character issues, Mr. Clinton ranks with the stronger candidate on both leadership (George W. Bush) and caring (Al Gore). Only on honesty and integrity does the president come up short.
Voters think Mr. Clinton combines the best qualities of Bush and Gore. Clinton matches Bush on leadership qualities: 63 percent of voters say Clinton has strong qualities of leadership, and 63% say the same about Bush. Fifty-nine percent of voters feel that Mr. Clinton cares about the needs and problems of people like them, similar to the 61 percent who say Gore cares.
Not surprisingly, it's on honesty and integrity that Mr. Clinton falls behind: only 23 percent of voters think that he has moe honesty and integrity than most people in public life. In contrast, 39 percent say the same about Bush and Gore respectively.
THE CLINTON LEGACY
At this point in time, Mr. Clinton's biggest accomplishment and his biggest failure are pretty clear. Americans say the economy is the Clinton administration' biggest success: 34 percent mention the economy while no other mention reaches double digits. Foreign policy comes second at 5 percent.
Clinton's biggest failure remains the scandal surrounding his impeachment: 17 percent cite morals and the sex scandal as his administration's biggest failure, and another 6 percent cite dishonesty and corruption. In addition, 5 percent mention the damage that he did to his image, and the image of the presidency - bringing scandal-related mentions to a total of 28 percent. But this number is down some: in October of last year, 37 percent cited some sort of scandal-related answer.
This poll was conducted May 10-13, 2000, among a nationwide random sample of 947 adults interviewed by telephone. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. The error for subgroups is larger.