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How Clinton Can Save His Job

President Clinton's future now, more than ever, hinges on two factors: the polls, and the markets, as in stock markets.

No matter the details of the president's testimony under oath to Ken Starr, the key question will remain: Does he remain in the presidency?

If - underscore the word, please - if the polls and the stock market stay anywhere close to where they are between now and January, then Bill Clinton probably will continue to be president.

If one goes down significantly and the other stays up, he'll likely face more trouble but still might survive. If both go down a lot and stay down, he could be finished - either impeached or forced to resign.

Congress is unlikely to take decisive action before January. The November elections will have passed. A new Congress will be sworn in. A track record of several months polling and market behavior will have been laid down.

By any reasonable analysis, that figures to be a decisive time. A big, lasting downturn in the president's approval ratings and the same in the markets would embolden Republicans to try and drive Mr Clinton out. Under such circumstances, Democrats would desert him in droves.

The two key indicators are, of course, directly related: the polls and the markets. Each directly influences the other.

Immediate, short-run reactions to the president's grand jury testimony won't matter much. The ones between now and January matter mightily.

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