Public Favors One-Party Control

As congressional Republicans begin to air ads warning against giving President Clinton a "blank check," a new Associated Press poll finds a slim majority of likely voters, 51 percent, believe the country would be better off if one party controlled both the White House and Congress.

Thirty-five percent of those polled favored divided government -- a president and Congress of different parties. While 56 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats favored one-party control, only 34 percent of independents thought this was a good idea. This suggests independent voters pivotal in close races could be swayed by the GOP argument against giving Clinton a Democratic Congress along with a second term.

The survey of 707 likely voters, conducted Oct. 18-22 by ICR of Media, Pa., has a 4 point error margin.

Democrats led 45-34 percent when respondents were asked which party they would support if elections for Congress were today: This conflicts with other recent polls that have found Republicans and Democrats running roughly even on the question. The latest Reuters daily tracking poll, conducted by the New York-based John Zogby Group International, gives the Democrats a 39-35 percent edge when respondents were asked which party's candidate they would support in their congressional district; that survey of 1,000 likely voters has a 3.2 point error margin.

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