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Business Week/Harris Executive Poll
America's business leaders have very little good to say about Bill Clinton in a new BUSINESS WEEK poll. Even though the President cut the budget deficit and promoted U.S. exports, 92% give him weak marks for leadership. An overwhelming majority criticize Clinton's trade policy, his economic performance--even his economic advisers. And 82%, up from 45% after the 1992 election, view the Clinton-Gore team not as a new breed of Democrat, but as "tax and spend" liberals in disguise. Only the Federal Reserve wins decent grades, with 48% of the executives supporting the central bank's efforts to strike a balance between reining in inflation and spurring economic growth.
Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole can't take much comfort from the findings. Clinton's main GOP antagonist ranks a weak fourth among the executives' picks for a 1996 Republican Presidential challenger, while former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney came in first.THE BIG PICTURE
-- How do you rate President Clinton's handling of the economy--
excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
Excellent 1% Only fair 57% Don't know/
Pretty good 14% Poor 28% not sure 0%
-- How would you rate the Clinton Administration on each of the following--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
Excellent Pretty Only Poor Not
good fair sure
Providing strong leadership 0% 8% 32% 60% 0%
Reforming the health-care system 1% 8% 18% 72% 1%
Cutting the deficit and
government spending 3% 10% 40% 46% 1%
Ensuring economic growth 1% 16% 56% 26% 1%
Creating jobs 2% 20% 51% 25% 2%
Fighting crime 2% 24% 44% 30% 1%
Assuring fair trade 7% 47% 35% 10% 1%
GETTING TOUGH WITH JAPAN
-- President Clinton promised to press Excellent 1%
Japan to ease trade and investment Pretty good 21%
barriers that impose unfair obstacles Only fair 52%
to American companies. How do you Poor 24%
rate his performance to date--excellent, Don't know/
pretty good, only fair, or poor? not sure 2%
-- Which of the following statements is closest to your view of the Clinton-Gore Administration?
They are a new breed of Democrats more attuned
to economic growth and the concerns of middle-
class Americans 15% 53%
They are posing as champions of growth and the
middle class but are really "tax and spend" liberals
in disguise 82% 45%
Not sure 3% 2%
HEALTH CARE'S PULSE
-- President Clinton's campaign to provide guaranteed, universal health coverage for all Americans has run into trouble on Capitol Hill. Do you agree or disagree that:
Agree Disagree Not
Clinton's proposal gave government too
big a role in running health care 94% 5% 1%
It's better to put off health reform for this year 89% 10% 1%
Despite flaws in the current plans, health reform
is a good idea and needs to be pushed 69% 28% 3%
The market is already cutting costs and improving
quality so well that federal reform isn't needed 56% 39% 5%
Lobbyists and special interests killed
worthwhile reform 28% 69% 3%
-- Overall, how would you characterize your outlook for the U.S. economy in the next 12 months--would you say you are very optimistic, somewhat optimistic, somewhat pessimistic, or very pessimistic?
Very optimistic 4% Somewhat Very pessimistic 0%
Somewhat optimistic 77% pessimistic 19% Not sure 0%
RATING THE ECONOMISTS
-- How do you rate President Clinton's team of economic advisers--Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, National Economic Council Director Robert Rubin, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Laura Tyson, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Budget Director Alice Rivlin--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
Excellent 2% Only fair 52% Don't know/
Pretty good 20% Poor 26% not sure 0%
FIDDLING AT THE FED
-- President Clinton has named two new members to the Federal Reserve Board. Both appointees believe that the Fed should do more to spur economic growth and should not be overly restrictive when it comes to fighting inflation. Given the state of the economy, which one of the following statements do you most agree with?
Inflation is a real threat and the Fed is wise to have
moved early and aggressively to raise interest rates 14%
Inflation is not that much of a threat and the Fed should be more
concerned about keeping the economic expansion going 38%
The Fed has got the balance about right 48%
Not sure 0%
-- If you had to make a choice today, would you support President Clinton for reelection, or not?
Yes 9% No 87% Not sure 4%
BOB AND COLIN AND DICK AND ROSS
-- Which one of the following would you vote for if the election were held today?
Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney 27%
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell 19%
Former Housing & Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp 19%
Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole 13%
Texas Senator Phil Gramm 7%
Former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander 3%
California Governor Pete Wilson 2%
Former Vice-President Dan Quayle 2%
Independent Ross Perot 0%
None of these 5%
Not sure 3%
Survey of 400 senior executives drawn from the BUSINESS WEEK 1000. Interviews were conducted Sept. 19-26, 1994 for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.
Edited by Michele Galen & Mark N. Vamos