November 23, 2004,
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is text from a Nov. 22 release from the polling company, inc.
When asked, "In your opinion, what will Bill Clinton be remembered for?" a majority of Americans cite some aspect of the former President's relationship with the White House intern, and a plurality mention her by name.
Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that Monica Lewinsky's name is only mentioned two times in the new Clinton Presidential Center, a majority of Americans think of her or her affair with Bill Clinton when they reflect on the most memorable events of the Clinton Administration, according to a recent national poll of 800 adults. Respondents were asked to reveal what they thought Bill Clinton would be most remembered for while in office in an open-ended question unprompted by pre-arranged response categories.
Specifically, 53% of Americans named "Monica Lewinsky" or the "affair, adultery, sex scandal" as the most memorable moment of President Clinton's eight years in office, more than four times the number who cited "the economy" (12%). Another 19% noted positive attributes about the former president, including 11% who remember him as a "good president."
Though the new Clinton Presidential Center states the former President developed "the world's strongest force for a 21st century community of peace and prosperity, freedom and security" only 6% of respondents mentioned any type of foreign relations as part of the Clinton Legacy, including a paltry 1% who identified him with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Additional key findings from the survey:
When asked "What will Bill Clinton be remembered for?" 31% of respondents mentioned Monica Lewinsky by name, while only 1% said his wife, "Hillary Clinton."
Seniors (65+) were twice as likely as the overall population to remember Clinton as a "good president," while younger adults (18-34) and those aged 35-44 (read: parents) especially likely to name "Monica Lewinsky" when they think of Bill Clinton's legacy.
Men are more likely than women to cite "Monica Lewinsky" by name when they hear "Bill Clinton" (34%- 30%, respectively).
African Americans and Hispanics were less likely than Whites to connect the Clinton legacy to some aspect of the sex scandal, but still named it as their primary top-of-mind recall.
Every demographic group surveyed volunteered some aspect of the Lewinsky Affair as the one thing they think Bill Clinton will be most remembered for, including some of his biggest supporters.