Most voters don’t believe Bob Dole when he says President Clinton’s word is no good, according to a poll released Saturday that highlighted perils the Republican challenger would face in going negative in the final weeks of the campaign.
As Dole and his top campaign officials tried to decide whether to attack Clinton more aggressively on character issues, CNN and Time magazine reported that half of likely voters - including three in 10 Republicans - already think Dole has engaged in too much negative campaigning.
Only 22 percent said Clinton has attacked his opponents too much; 71 percent, including 57 percent of Republicans, said he has not.
Like other recent national surveys, the CNN-Time poll Thursday and Friday found Clinton with a strong lead - 18 percentage points - less than four weeks before Election Day. A CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll released Saturday had Clinton up by 23.
The CNN-Time survey also found Democrats opening up a bigger lead over Republicans when voters were asked which party’s congressional candidate they would support in their district if the election were today.
Democrats now lead 52 percent to 38 percent, compared to 48-44 a month ago. That is only a general indicator for a contest that will be decided race-by-race.