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Clinton slips in high-tech support

Companies are less than thrilled with Bill Clinton but still support him in a new survey.

As both candidates begin to make their pitches for the Silicon Valley vote, a new survey shows that high-tech executives are less than thrilled with President Clinton's first term but still favor him for re-election over Republican challenger Bob Dole.

The survey, conducted by analyst David Coursey and sponsored by Decisive Technology, is an unscientific poll based on questions emailed to 350 high-tech executives, with a response rate of less than 50 percent.

But it supports the conventional wisdom that Clinton is the favored candidate in Silicon Valley, with some 37 percent of the respondents planning to vote for the president in November compared to 26 percent for Dole.

Clinton enjoyed wide support from the high-tech industry in 1992 as he and Vice President Al Gore positioned themselves as tech-savvy baby boomers. But grumblings of discontent have led more than 60 percent of survey respondents to deem Clinton's impact on Silicon Valley as "fair" or even "poor."

The president's support has been diminished by his position on technology issues, such as the administration's Clipper proposal to control the use of encryption technology by giving the government access to all decryption codes. Other Clinton policies such as his veto of a bill that would shelter companies from shareholder lawsuits and his ongoing reluctance to lower capital-gains taxes are also unpopular stands in Silicon Valley.

On the other hand, the reform of the telecommunications industry and Clinton's strong support of copyright laws have been popular, prompting 40 percent of survey respondents to rate his performance as "good or better."