Poll Says More Americans Unlikely To Reelect Clinton

IF President Clinton ran for reelection today, 55 percent of Americans would be ``very'' or ``somewhat'' unlikely to vote for him, according to a new Time magazine/CNN poll.

If the election were held today, Mr. Clinton would lose to former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, finish in a dead heat with Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R) of Kansas, but would beat former Vice President Dan Quayle, the poll said.

The poll also shows a growing lack of faith in both Clinton and Congress to deal with the nation's problems. Ninety-one percent said they have little or no confidence in Washington's ability to get the job done.

While 55 percent polled said it was somewhat or very unlikely Clinton would get their vote if he ran for reelection, 40 percent said they would lean toward or likely support him.

Matched against three potential challengers, Mr. Powell, if he ran as a Republican, beats Clinton 43 percent to 38 percent. Clinton and Senator Dole split the vote at 43 percent, while Mr. Quayle trails the president 53 percent to 31 percent.

Gridlock is a big problem between Congress and the president, said 64 percent of those polled. Forty-eight percent pointed the finger of blame at Congressional Republicans, while 32 percent faulted the Clinton administration.

Overall, Congress was doing a lousy job according to 65 percent polled, and 66 percent said the legislature is out of touch with the American people. The poll of 1,000 adult Americans, conducted for Time/CNN by Yankelovich Partners Inc, Aug. 17-18, had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Lawmakers revamp how bureaucrats buy pencils

CONGRESS may send President Clinton legislation this week that would streamline federal purchasing procedures and save taxpayers perhaps billions of dollars annually.

The bill, which would revamp the way bureaucrats buy $200 billion worth of planes, pencils, and other goods annually, incorporates many of the changes Vice President Al Gore suggested in his ``reinventing government'' initiative last year. (Review of initiative, Page 7.)

The biggest changes would occur at the Pentagon, which does three-fourths of the government's buying.

The measure would do everything from erase scores of regulations and paperwork requirements to encourage agencies to buy commercially available items, rather than custom-made ones. It is aimed at easing the burden created by a torrent of regulations the government adopted in the 1980s after the scandals over Pentagon purchases of $640 toilet seats and other expensive items. Some companies have shied away from doing business with the government because of the resulting complicated procedures.

The measure would make paperwork less cumbersome for purchases costing less than $100,000, while contracts worth less than $2,500 would have even fewer regulations.

Last week, House-Senate bargainers shook hands on a compromise version of the legislation.

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