Only one in 10 voters blames the Clinton administration for the reported increase in teenagers' drug use and three in four approve of the federal crackdown on teen smoking, a poll released Saturday found.
The Newsweek poll suggests that Republicans' fierce election-year attacks against President Clinton last week on the drug issue might not have legs, while Clinton's offensive against the tobacco industry might.The poll also found Clinton and Vice President Al Gore with a 7-point lead over the Republican ticket of Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, with Reform Party nominee Ross Perot far behind.
A federal survey released last week found that after a decade of decline, drug use among 12-to-17-year-olds rose from 5.3 percent of those surveyed in 1992 to 10.9 percent in 1995.
Dole quickly labeled the report a "national tragedy," and other Republicans leveled even harsher criticism at Clinton.
But when voters in the Newsweek poll were asked who was most to blame, other than drug dealers and the teenagers themselves, only 9 percent said the Clinton administration. Forty-nine percent blamed parents, 24 percent blamed the entertainment industry and 8 percent said schools were most at fault. Seven percent said none of those choices applied or listed other causes and 3 percent didn't know.
Seventy-four percent said they approved of new Clinton-backed federal regulations that treat tobacco as a drug and crack down on cigarette marketing and sales to teenagers. Twenty-three disapproved and 3 percent didn't know.
In the sampling of 751 registered voters Thursday and Friday, 47 percent said they would vote for Clinton and Gore if the election were today, 40 percent for Dole-Kemp and 7 percent for Perot.