Clinton Gets Benefit of Women's Doubts About the GOP, Poll Finds

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

A new poll has found that undergirding a tendency among women to favor President Clinton's reelection is a resistance to Republican positions on key issues.

The poll by The Times Mirror Center for The People and The Press also found that all GOP presidential contenders suffer from a disadvantage among women voters. But that could change if retired Gen. Colin L. Powell enters the race, according to the poll.

About 67% of women interviewed said they might vote for Powell if he runs for President. Nor is there a gender gap to Powell's support--66% of men also said they might vote for him.

The poll shows Clinton winning a theoretical three-way race, with 42% backing him to 35% for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the GOP front-runner, and 19% for businessman Ross Perot.

Clinton owes nearly all his margin to women, 44% of whom supported him compared to 33% for Dole and 18% for Perot. Among men, Clinton edged out Dole, 39% to 38%, with 20% for Perot.

The poll showed that on three key issues--changes to Medicare, education reform and middle-class tax cuts--women took a dimmer view of GOP positions than men. On tax cuts, for example, only 28% of women thought the Republicans had the best plan, contrasted with 43% who liked Clinton's less sweeping proposal. Among men, 38% favored the GOP position while 41% backed Clinton.

While 54% of women interviewed said there was a chance they might vote for Clinton, only 44% left open that option for Dole. As for other GOP candidates, only 19% of women said they might vote for conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan; 18% would consider backing Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas.

The poll of 1,519 adults was taken Sept. 28 to Oct. 1; it has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Times Mirror Co. is the owner of the Los Angeles Times and other newspaper, broadcasting and publishing enterprises.

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