Poll gives Clinton good marks on early statements THE POLITICAL SCENE

November 14, 1992|By The Gallup Organization

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Bill Clinton has made a generally positive impression with the public during his first week as president-elect, with a majority of Americans saying they have more confidence in Mr. Clinton as a result of his statements and actions since the election.

The latest Gallup Poll shows that two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, but there are signs that the change of administrations is elevating the public mood.

Before the election, an even larger proportion of the public -- 84 percent -- expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the country. Looking to the future, more people say they expect the country to be better off (51 percent) than worse off (31 percent) in four years.

Six in 10 Americans expect the new administration to be successful in improving the economy (59 percent), the top concern of the voters in this election year. Still larger majorities say that Mr. Clinton will make progress in solving a variety of domestic problems, including improving education (69 percent), helping minorities and the poor (68 percent), improving the health care system (64 percent) and improving the environment (64 percent).

Expectations for the new administration are lower in two areas that rated high on Ross Perot's agenda during the campaign: reducing the size of the deficit and controlling federal spending. Less than half (38 percent) of the public say Mr. Clinton will have success in cutting the deficit; a similar proportion (40 percent) say he will be able to keep federal spending in check.

The public is least confident that Mr. Clinton will be able to avoid raising their taxes: Only 20 percent feel that way.

But the public's skepticism on taxes is nothing new. In 1988, even though George Bush promised "no new taxes," only 24 percent of Americans told Gallup they thought Mr. Bush would be able to avoid a tax increase.

The public seems to agree with the new President that improving the economy should take priority over solving the deficit problem. When asked what the Clinton administration's top priority should be in the first 100 days, the public overwhelmingly chooses creating jobs (49 percent) over cutting the deficit (17 percent). Even those who report having voted for Mr. Perot share this view.

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