`If Reagan Was Still Around, I'd Vote For Him'

Can Clinton win? Yes, if he corrals the voters who deserted the Democrats after 1976. From Northern cities to Southern towns, many "Reagan Democrats" are giving the Arkansas governor another look. Clinton must also turn out black and pro-choice voters. Here's a look at several voters considering Clinton:


Bill Clinton's message of change won't lead all blue-collar ethnic voters back into the Democratic fold. Just ask Gary and Jan Chibicki.

Lifelong residents of Hegewisch, a Polish neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, the Chibickis see Clinton as little more than an old-style machine politician. "There's a very, very good chance I'm not going to vote for Clinton," says 38-year-old Gary Chibicki, a union man who earns about $15 an hour as a maintenance electrician at a local chemical-storage company. "You just have to look into his eyes and wonder what he might be hiding."

Jan Chibicki, 37, doesn't trust Hillary Clinton, either. "I don't think his wife should have anything to do with running the country," says the homemaker and mother of two. "Hillary Clinton already thinks she's President, the way she talks."

The couple, who voted for George Bush in 1988, were once loyal Democrats. Gary abandoned the party in the early 1970s, and Jan turned to the GOP in the last Presidential race. "If Reagan was still around, I'd vote for him," says Gary. "He was forceful."

That's a quality lacking in both the Democratic and Republican candidates, they say. Bush "should have done the job right" by removing Saddam Hussein from power after the gulf war, Gary says. "Sometimes I lean toward Bush, but he's let the economy get way out of hand, and he's spending too much time in foreign lands."

Ross Perot, the self-styled outsider, may get Jan's vote. "We need someone fresh," she says. "Someone who's not into politics." Not to mention someone whose marriage is not the stuff of tabloid headlines. "If Clinton can do that," says Jan, referring to the allegations of adultery bedeviling him, "he can do a lot of things against the country."

The Chibickis don't expect much from any candidate. "It's not going to get better in the next four years," predicts Gary, "no matter who gets in."

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