Originally Posted by Cavs Fan
He was a smart cat, but didn't have an ounce of mental or ethical fortitude. His decisions were made almost entirely on polling data.
Clinton did put a lot of effort into Public Polling. Clinton spent the most on public polling, ahead of even Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Although as much as Bush denies that he cares about polls, the Bush administration still spent about a million dollars during his first two years in office on public opinion polls. The difference is that Clinton discussed this data with his entire staff and quoted numbers for Congress (in the tradition of LBJ). Bush, on the other hand, gives the information to only his closest advisors. They prepare a summary for Bush and then they lock the data away (in the tradition of every President from Kennedy through Nixon).
Also, one other difference between the way the Bush adminstration uses polls and how the Clinton administration used it. Clinton used polls on everything--eg "Where should I go on vacation". Bush uses it to see what phrases people best respond to--how to manipulate. Does the public like the phrase "Cut and Run", "Death Tax" vs "Estate Tax", etc.
Clinton spent 4 million on polling during his first two years. The Republican Party spends anually 10 million. Public Polling is part of the political system. Americans say that they don't want a candidate who relies on political polling, but then get mad when their voice isn't heard. I don't think you can really be critical of Clinton's use of polling (or Carter's, or Reagan's).