Americans back then and Americans now agree: Richard Nixon was right to resign because of Watergate.

But the sentiment for him to go appears to have been stronger at the time, judging by a Gallup poll conducted Aug. 8-9, 1974 _ the eve and day of his departure from office.

In that poll, 79 percent said Nixon ``did the best thing by resigning'' while 13 percent thought he should have stayed.

In a new Associated Press poll for the 25th anniversary of Watergate, 59 percent said Nixon's actions were serious enough to warrant his resignation, 23 percent said they were not and 18 percent did not know or did not answer.

Comments on that question from Americans interviewed for the anniversary:

_``Oh, definitely they should have ousted him. Resignation was too good for him.'' Michelle Meinhardt, 43, Baltimore.

_``If you're going to lie and get caught, you need to face the consequences. It doesn't detract from the fact that I think he was one of the best presidents.'' David Saville, 39, Charleston, W.Va.

_``Everyone is human and you'll screw up once in a while. He did deserve to resign, though.'' Jennifer Philson, 20, Pittsburgh.

_``Absolutely not, because they all do it.'' Jeanne Turner, 38, Clifton Park, N.Y.

_``Yes. In order to have a country that's functional, we need a leader we can trust. Obviously, he didn't fit.'' Megan O'Shaughnessy, 25, Concord, N.H.

_``I don't know. I think the worst thing he did was get caught.'' Dion Nolcox, 34, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

_``Yes, because he lied.'' David Sias, 48, Albuquerque, N.M.

_``You can't just lie to people, deceive them. You and I do that, you go to jail.'' Bruce Preston, 46, Philadelphia.

_``No, I think he should have stayed to, maybe, get to the bottom of things, instead of just quitting.'' Carrie McDowell, 23, Townsend, Mont.

_``It was good that he resigned. He stepped forth with the little dignity that he had left.'' Ayanti Grant, 18, Groton, Conn.