|WHAT SOUTHERN ARIZONANS
THINK (Cont'd. from page 1)...
tain whether the President should be impeached,
but feel "sufficient questions have been raised to justify a full inquiry
by the House." The remaining 25 per cent said the President has been "unfairly
maligned," and we "should get off his back."
Party alignments are revealing. Favoring impeachment
were 57 per cent of the Democrats sampled, only 18 per cent of the Republicans
and 36 per cent of the independents. Favoring full inquiry were 33 per
cent of the Democrats, 36 per cent of the Republicans and 39 per cent of
the independents. Saying, "Get off his back," were 10 per cent of the Democrats,
46 per cent of the Republicans and 25 per cent of the independents.
If the House votes impeachment, 68 per cent of
the citizens said the President should then be removed from office by the
Senate, and 32 per cent disagreed. While 84 per cent of the Democrats and
67 per cent of the independents would favor removal, 56 per cent of the
Republicans said the President should remain in office.
Asked whether President Nixon or Vice President
Ford could best lead the country for the next three years, citizens were
almost evenly split, 51 per cent for the Vice President and 49 per cent
for the President. Age is important here, with 55 per cent of those under
18 favoring Mr. Ford and 58 per cent of those 65 or older favoring President
Asked whether the President should resign immediately,
the citizens are also split almost evenly. Younger citizens are again more
likely to favor resignation and the older ones to favor his staying in
office. While 69 per cent of the Democrats favor resignation, 26 per cent
of the Republicans -- more than one in four -- say the President should
Several comments come to mind as I examine these
The nature and degree of the President's weakness,
and the attitudes on impeachment and resignation, are particularly significant.
Has any former President fallen a hairsbreadth
short of the Vice President in the public's confidence? It should be pointed
out that Democrats and Republicans divide in exactly opposite proportions
on this question, however, with 78 per cent of Democrats favoring the Vice
President while the same percentage of Republicans favor Mr. Nixon over
Mr. Ford. Independents are aligned precisely with the average of the sample,
almost evenly divided but leaning slightly toward the Vice-President.
It is also significant that one in four supporters
of Mr. Nixon's party believe he should resign, and that less than half
of the Republicans, 46 per cent, say we should leave him alone.
|We have strong sentiment for pursuing
the inquiries, at least, if not going the full route to impeachment. Clearly,
a major share of the citizens believe the questions raised are serious,
deserve answers, and should be pursued by the House. But at the same time
a majority also wants the inquiries ended promptly, and endorses the April
30 deadline that some have proposed. It is now clear the deadline won't
be met, but I agree that a prompt resolution is important and will work
for that goal.
It is also important that people who consider
themselves independent lean heavily in the direction of impeachment or
full inquiry. Independents, incidentally, account for one in every four
voters in our sample. In effect, we found that the Democrats and Republicans
tended to cancel each other out. It is the independents, then, who tip
On the energy issues, I am heartened that a large
majority believes that we must preserve our environment and not back away
from our commitments to protect it, while we attempt to expand our fuel
and energy output in coming years.
This means Congress and Federal policymakers have
a very thin line to walk. The public, in effect, wants to have its environment
and to burn it, too. It remains to be seen whether such a pair of potentially
contradictory wants can both be satisfied. If it is possible, it does seem
that to fill such an order will be costly. Once the costs are more clearly
visible, it will be interesting to see whether the public still sets the
same demands. I expect public attitudes will prove to be subject to change
as we learn more about the costs.
It is revealing that citizens also tend to want
government to take a middle road on the question of regulating the oil
companies. Strongly as so many citizens feel that the oil industry is somehow
responsible for the energy crisis in the first place, a very small number
of citizens wants complete government takeover.
This, in effect, adds a third condition to the
equation. Besides wanting both continued high levels of energy available
and high-quality environment, the public wants us to preserve the basic
character of a free-enterprise economy.
Some leading thinkers on the subjects of the world's
environment and its various shortages and scarcities have been telling
us that the only answer will ultimately be less freedom of choice for all
of us. It is clear from this survey that the citizens of the Second Congressional
District of Arizona are not yet ready to accept that conclusion.