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Clinton Gets High Marks

President Clinton's approval rating remains high despite U.S. concerns over trade with China and allegations that the president had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In fact, a CBS News Poll finds that Mr. Clinton's approval rating, at 60 percent, is still higher than it was before he was accused of having an affair with Lewinsky and urging her to lie about it under oath. However, the rating is below the higher levels of support that had been recorded throughout much of the last four months.

Approval of his handling of the economy is even higher, but the president's management of foreign policy, which had been buoyed during a series of foreign trips, now gets the approval of only 55 percent of the public, as concerns about China are now in the news.

JOB APPROVAL 56%68%62%60% FOREIGN POLICY 63%61%54%55% ECONOMY 68%75%69%68%

This relative stability in the president's overall approval rating masks some underlying changes in the way Americans view charges against him and the tactics being used in the Lewinsky investigation. The public is still willing to wait for answers and continues to dislike the tactics of the independent counsel, Kenneth Starr.

More continue to blame Clinton's enemies than blame the president himself for creating the current situation. However, that margin has narrowed dramatically. And the public now clearly believes the White House has made matters worse for itself in its response to the allegations and the investigation.

In addition, while Americans believe the president should go to China as planned later this month, a majority of those polled think that China did try to influence U.S. policy through campaign contributions.

China: Money, Satellites, Trade and Security

Despite "neutral" attitudes about China, and concern about the transfer of technology to China, most Americans believe Mr. Clinton should go to China later this month.

Keeping doors open seems important, as 59 percent say Mr. Clinton should go, as opposed to 32 percent who say he should not.

More than twice as many Americans think trade with China is good for the U.S. economy as think it is detrimental. Fifty percent say trade will boost the economy, while only 23 percent think it is bad for the economy. Another 14 percent say trade with China would have no effect.

This poll was conducted among a nation-wide random sample of 1,126 adult, interviewed by telephone June 7-9, 1998. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample is plus or minus three percentage points.