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HERE'S the latest in the world of...


HERE'S the latest in the world of political opinion-sampling the "fax poll." This is a new gambit dreamed up by the editors of City & State magazine and the Xerox Corp. Last month, they conducted the Government Opinion Leaders Fax Poll, with results showing that small-town government officials gave Bill Clinton low marks for overall performance.

Two-thirds of the respondents graded the president on a D or F level. Of course, most of those in the poll were either Republicans or independents. And not surprisingly, the small-town officials tended to dislike the president's stimulus package that would pump much of the money into big cities.

But what bothered many of them most was Mr. Clinton's unfocused approach to his new job and the fact that he seems to have lost his campaign's constant admonition, "It's the economy, stupid!"

Nearly seven out of 10 also said the president wasn't doing enough budget-cutting. They know from firsthand experience the best way to bring a budget back into balance is to wield a heavy ax and start chopping at those public expenses deemed non-essential.

Such polls are hardly scientific. They're about as reliable as those TV telephone-request polls or trying to judge public reaction from radio call-in shows. Still, this was the first "fax poll" we had encountered.

Naturally, a friend faxed it to us.

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