Even when they see his TV commercials and watch him or read about him in the news, voters seem to be tuning President Bush out, a new survey released Thursday finds.
In the last week, 68% of Americans say they have seen Bush's ads, but half of them think the ads are "not truthful," a survey by The Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press found. Just 38% of Americans said they thought Bush's ads were credible.
At the same time, 51% of Americans thought Democrat Bill Clinton's ads "all in all" tell the truth, and only 35% doubt them, the survey found.
The poll also suggested that the race has stabilized for Clinton, but that Bush and Texas billionaire Ross Perot could be losing ground. In the five days before Perot aired his first half-hour "infomercial," 17% said they had come to have a "less favorable" view of Perot, whereas only 1% said they like him better.
For Bush, 12% said they have a less favorable view of him than they did a week ago because of what they have seen or read, and only 3% were impressed. For Clinton, 9% thought less of him and another 9% thought better of him.
One-third of the respondents said they heard mostly about Clinton in the last week from watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers, whereas another third said they heard mostly about Perot in the news. Only 18% said they had heard mostly about Bush.
In the key battleground states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida and Texas, Bush fared only slightly better. Thirty-seven percent said they had heard mostly about Perot, 27% remember hearing more about Clinton and only 23% remember hearing more about Bush.
When asked to grade Bush's television commercials, 31% gave him a failing grade, and 25% gave him an A or B. For Clinton, only 16% gave him a failing grade, and 46% gave him an A or B. The survey was taken before Perot's first commercial aired.
BUSH ADS: ARE THEY TRUTHFUL?
% who saw Bush ads Found them Found them in last few days truthful not truthful 68% 38% 50%
In Western states:
% who saw Bush ads Found them Found them in last few days truthful not truthful 59% 39% 48%
CLINTON ADS: ARE THEY TRUTHFUL?
% who saw Clinton ads Found them Found them in last few days truthful not truthful 64% 51% 35%
In Western states:
% who saw Clinton ads Found them Found them in last few days truthful not truthful 49% 48% 41%
Which candidate have you heard the most about in the last week?
Clinton Bush Perot 33% 18% 33%
Source: Times Mirror Center survey of 796 registered voters conducted Oct. 2-6. Margin of error is 4 percentage points.