Those who watched the videotape had mixed reactions to what they saw. And assessments of what should happen next changed little after the broadcast of the tape.
Among the 52 percent of call-back respondents who said they watched the testimony:
- Sixty-three percent said Mr. Clinton mostly tried to avoid answering questions he was asked. Thirty-two percent think he mostly answered the questions. In fact, the top mention of what "one thing" stood out in people's minds about the videotape was the president's "evasiveness."
- Viewers were divided on whether he cooperated enough in answering questions.
- Fifty-three percent said it was appropriate for Mr. Clinton to refuse to answer specific details about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Less than half [44 percent] thought it was appropriate for the independent counsel's lawyers to be asking such specific sexual questions.
- Only 21 percent said they thought the tapes were more damaging to Mr. Clinton than they had expected. Thirty-four percent thought the tape was less damaging than expected.
TAPE RELEASE AND BROADCAST
|What Should Congress Do Now?|
People were not as critical of the news organizations that decided to broadcast the tape in its entirety, but opinion was still split on this question. Forty-seven percent thought broadcasting the entire tape was the right thing to do, while 47 percent said it was wrong.
Those who watched the tape had a more favorable reaction to the broadcast. Thirty-seven percent of those who watched still said they didn't think the entire tape should have been broadcast.
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NOW?
|Clinton's Job Rating|
Also, expectations about what will happen in the future remained the same. A majority said neither resignation nor impeachment will be the final outcome.
|Opinion Of Clinton|
While perjury is a central issue in terms of the president's testimony, more than half continued to say it is understandable that the president would commit perjury himself, or encourage Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath, if the subject was their sexual behavior.
And even if perjury is proven, people still favor less serious action: 53 percent would want Mr. Clinton to apologize or the matter dropped; 43 percent would favor resignation or impeachment proceedings in that case.
CLINTON AS PRESIDENT
While there was almost no impact of the airing of the tape on the public's view of whether the president should resign or finish his term, more respondents gave the president a positive job rating when interviewed the second time. Last weekend, 59 percent said they approved of the way President Clinton was handling his job. Now, 68 percent of the same respondents said they approved. The size of the gain was similar among those who watched the tape and those who did not.
Also, about the same percentage [63 percent] continued to think Mr. Clinton can still be an effective president.
After the tape, there was an almost even division on whether the public had a favorable or unfavorable view of Mr. Clinton. Last weekend, among the same respondents, a slight majority viewed him unfavorably.
Opinions of Congress changed less. Half the re-interviewed respondents expressed their approval of the way Congress was handling its job over the weekend. Fifty-three percent did so Monday evening.
This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 696 adults interviewed by telephone September 21, 1998 after 7 p.m. The 696 adults were originally interviewed September 19-20, 1998. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus four percentage points for results based on the entire sample. The sampling error for sub-samples of videotape viewers and non-viewers is plus or minus five percentage points.
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