TIME/CNN Poll: Clinton Increases Lead Over Dole

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NEW YORK CITY: After a month of presidential campaigning dominated by talk of tobacco and assault weapons, President Clinton has increased his lead over GOP challenger Bob Dole. According to the latest TIME/CNN poll taken July 10-11, Clinton leads Dole by a 53-38 margin, up from a six-point lead in June. The numbers are below Clinton's 22-point lead in May, but still represent Clinton's second largest lead since the poll began last July. Dole appears to have been hurt by comments that tobacco may not be addictive and his failure to support a federal ban on assault weapons. By a 39-15 margin, voters said a candidate's support of the ban would make them more likely to support that candidate. By a 38-20 margin, voters said Clinton's stance on tobacco comes closer to their own than Dole's. Neither candidate appears to be helped by the addition of a Reform Party candidate into the fold. In a three-way race with either Ross Perot or Richard Lamm, Clinton's lead over Dole grows to 16 points, with Perot pulling in 13 percent and Lamm taking just 4 percent. Clinton's approval rating also rebounded from June, jumping five points to 55 percent. Along with Clinton solidifying his lead, Democrat Congressional candidates have improved their standing. If the election were held today, 48 percent of voters would support a Democrat for Congress compared to 41 percent for Republicans. In June, the margin was two points. The survey of 1,010 registered voters has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points. -- Josh Dubow