Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sounding Board '96

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sounding Board '96

Article excerpt

BOB DOLE'S DECISION to quit the Senate to spend all his time running for president makes perfect sense to Joseph Sutton, a political independent who lives in St. Louis' Benton Park neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Christy McNew, a Republican from Overland and committed Dole supporter, has mixed feelings. Scott Solliday, a Des Peres resident who leans Democratic, said it showed Dole at 72 is too old "to juggle all the things he has to juggle."

Those are among the diverse reactions offered Thursday by eight of the St. Louis area residents taking part in the Post-Dispatch's ongoing Sounding Board series.

The eight were among hundreds of residents contacted during two Post-Dispatch telephone polls during the past year. Several dozen then agreed to be available for further interviews for Sounding Board articles. They were divided into eight groups or "clusters" that share various demographic characteristics and opinions on some issues.

"Running for the presidency has got to be a drain on anybody," said Sutt on, 46, a machine operator who leans toward voting for Dole in November. "He's got to get down to business. You can't do both."

Sutton is from the Sounding Board category termed "Doing Well . . . And Scared" - prosperous baby boomers generally worried about crime and with relatively little interest in politics.

To Give `110 Percent'

McNew, 20, a marketing student at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, is happy that Dole can give "110 percent" to the campaign now. She worries, however, that the move might backfire with undecided voters if they conclude that "he's stepping aside from responsibility."

Solliday, 43, a building contractor who says he expects to vote for President Bill Clinton, says "it's kind of sad when a guy in his twilight years" like Dole makes such a decision.

McNew is from the Sounding Board cluster called "Worried About Crime," while Solliday is part of a group called "Worried Optimists."

Janet Ruhe Schlag, an independent, undecided voter from Chesterfield, said she believed leaving the Senate would help Dole because it would separate him in the public mind from House Speaker Newt Gingrich. …

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