Congressional Briefs, Rep. Morris K. Udall, House Office Building, Washington D.C.

April, 1974

What Southern Arizonans Think

ENERGY, IMPEACHMENT, ECONOMY
To the Residents of the Second Congressional- District:

In March, many of you responded to my questionnaire on the energy crisis, impeachment and the economy. In all, my office received over 50,000 replies. From these, we drew a scientifically selected sample, representing a cross-section of the district by age, sex, political party preference, county of residence and years lived in Arizona.

The following report sums up your responses:

ENERGY-ENVIRONMENT

An overwhelming portion of the district's citizens (78 per cent) consider environmental damage to be as bad in the long run as the energy crisis. They want any increased energy and fuel production tied to environmental safeguards and oppose relaxing present safeguards in order to solve the energy crisis. Nearly three-fourths also suspect the oil companies of somehow engineering the energy crisis and bidding for higher prices, while 83 per cent declared oil profits are already too high.

IMPEACHMENT

Fully three-fourths of the citizens have either concluded that impeachment by the House and trial by the Senate are justified, or at least want a full House inquiry. There is also strong (68 per cent) sentiment favoring an April 30 windup of the House inquiry. Citizens split about evenly on whether or not the President should resign now, but surprisingly, one in four Republicans favor resignation.

THE ECONOMY

Asked whether the Administration's wage and price controls should be discontinued, retained or strengthened, 41 per cent said controls haven't worked and should be scrapped, a view apparently shared by the President and his Administration, based on their recent actions.

Some additional details of the survey's findings follow:

While most citizens (74 per cent) blamed the oil companies for the energy crisis, 55 per cent also said the crunch was inevitable because of our nation's rates of growth and energy consumption; 45 per cent blamed the environmentalists; 34 per cent accused government, and only 16 per cent blamed the Arabs and their refusal to sell oil to this country.

If rationing gasoline at the rate of 45 gallons per licensed driver over 18 years old were necessary, 56 per cent of the citizens said they would support such a plan and 44 per cent would oppose it. Those under 18 years of age differed from the older citizens, dividing evenly on this proposal. This reinforces responses I have received from younger drivers during my visits to high schools and in other meetings with young people in the district. They obviously are reluctant to give up their driving privileges entirely, when older persons would be restricted but not prevented from driving.

Continued private ownership of the oil industry, but with limited government power "to prevent collusion and monopoly and to allocate petroleum products" where needed, was favored by 76 per cent of the citizens. Only 8 per cent favored complete government takeover, and only 16 per cent supported complete freedom from government control.

Environmental damage is just as bad as the energy crisis, in the view of an overwhelming (78 per cent) majority of the citizens. They support measures to make sure "that we don't ruin the environment" in expanding our fuel production. Only 22 per cent said we should "delay or relax" environmental controls in order to meet energy needs.

On the impeachment question, 40 per cent said impeachment by the House and trial by the Senate are justified, and another 35 per cent said they are uncer-

(Continued on page 4)

 
LEGISLATIVE QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS

A -- THE ENERGY CRISIS
 

Below are five statements (questions 1-5) about the causes of the energy crisis. Please mark which statements you feel are substantially true and which you feel are substantially false.
TRUE
FALSE
1.  The crisis is largely phony. It was caused by the oil companies trying to take advantage and make higher profits
74%
26%
2. Our government caused the crisis by interfering with the free enterprise system and denying the oil
companies incentives to produce more oil
34%
66%
3. The environmentalists are largely responsible for causing it by slowing down the extraction of oil, coal and other energy sources, delaying the Alaska pipeline and insisting on anti-pollution devices which reduce gasoline mileage
45%
55%
4. The crisis occurred because our country has grown so fast and we use more energy than anyone else in the world. It had to happen sooner or later
55%
45%
5. The refusal of the Arabs to continue selling oil is a main cause of the energy crisis
16%
84%
ADDITIONAL ENERGY QUESTIONS
6.  Do you believe the big oil companies are making too much profit on the gasoline and oil they sell?
(a) Yes, they're making too much profit
83%
(b) No, their profits are not out of line
17%
7. Which of the following things have happened to you as a result of the gasoline shortage?
(a)  I had to wait at a gas station for more than 15 minutes
80%
(b) I ran out of gas and had to leave my car because I couldn't find a gas station open 
1%
(c) I had to cancel a trip I had planned because there was no gasoline available
18%
(d) I have missed work because there wasn't gasoline available
1%
8. If you knew that there would be gasoline rationing which would guarantee each licensed driver over 18
years of age in your family an average of 45 gallons per month, would you favor or oppose such a system?
(a) Favor rationing plan
56%
(b) Oppose a rationing plan
44%
9. A number of suggestions have been made as to how we can best deal with the energy situation. Which of
these three alternatives is the closest to the way you feel?
(a) The federal government should take over the entire oil industry
8%
(b) The government should keep hands off. It should allow the free market price system to work so that oil companies have an incentive to find new sources of supply
16%
(c) Ownership of the industry should remain basically private. But the government should be given limited power to intervene to prevent collusion and monopoly and to allocate petroleum products to areas where they are needed the most
76%
10. Which of these two statements is the closest to the way you feel?
(a) The energy crisis is so severe that we must delay or relax, if necessary, imposition of environmental
controls in order to ensure that we have as much energy as we need
22%
(b) In the long run, damage to our environment is just as bad as the energy crisis is now. We should make
sure that when we expand our domestic production of oil, gas and coal that we don't ruin the
government
78%

B -- IMPEACHMENT

In the last few months, many people have criticized President Nixon's handling of the Watergate situation and say he should be removed from office. Others say he has been unfairly maligned and should be allowed to complete his term. Still others are not sure whether he should remain or be removed, but feel enough questions have been raised to require a thorough inquiry by Congress.

Under our Constitution, the House of Representatives has the duty to determine whether charges should be brought against the President. This is called "impeachment." If Congress votes to "impeach" (that is, bring charges against) the President, the Senate then must decide whether he should be removed from office. Removal would require a 2/3 vote.
 

11. Which of these statements is the closest to the way you feel?
(a) I believe the House should impeach the President and send the case to the Senate for a final decision
40%

 
(b) I am not certain whether the President should be impeached, but I feel sufficient questions have been raised to justify a full inquiry by the House
35%
(c) I feel the President has been unfairly maligned. We should get off his back and let him do the job he was elected to do
25%
12. Regardless of your vote on the question above, if the President is impeached, do you feel the Senate should remove him from office?
(a) Yes, he should be removed from office
68%
(b) No, he should remain in office
32%
13. Some people are saying the debate over impeachment is taking too long and that the House should make a decision by some target date, April 30 perhaps, so that both Congress and the President can begin giving full-time attention to the nation's problems. Others say the question of impeachment is so important that the House should take as much of 1974 as it feels is reasonably necessary to make a decision. How do you feel?
(a) The House should conclude its inquiry by April 30
65%
(b) The House should take as long as is necessary to make the right decision
34%
14. Regardless of how you personally feel about the President and based on what you've read and heard, do you think President Nixon or Vice President Ford could best lead our country for the next three years?
(a) President Nixon
49%
(b) Vice President Ford
51%
15. Do you believe that President Nixon should resign at this time?
(a) Yes, President Nixon should resign
50%
(b) No, President Nixon should not resign
50%

C -- THE ECONOMY
 

16. Over the past 2 1/2 years, we've had a series of wage and price controls known as Phases I-IV. Some say such controls are necessary to prevent skyrocketing inflation. Others say such controls have clearly failed and have, in fact, aggravated shortages. Which of the following statements is closest to the way you feel?
(a) The wage-price control system hasn't worked and should be discontinued. As a basic rule, we are better off to let the free market system determine wage and prices
41%
(b) The system of wage and price controls has had its problems, but, on balance, it has helped check inflation and it should be retained
19%
(c) We no longer have much of a free market system left. Therefore, the controls should be extended and strengthened to protect ordinary people's income
40%

D -- PERSONAL DATA
 

Percent
Your Sex: Your County of Residence:
Male
52
Female
48
Pima
80
Cochise
16
Your Age: Pinal
1
Under 18
1
Santa Cruz
3
18-25
13
26-35
17
36-49
21
50-64
29
65+
19
Your Years in Arizona:
Your Political Preference: Less than 1
7
Democratic
45
1-2
14
Republican
29
3-5
11
Independent
26
5+
68

 
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 Nixon.

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 quit.

Several comments come to mind as I examine these findings.

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 the balance.

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.

Sincerely,


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Congressional Briefs
by Morris K. Udall
The University of Arizona Library