Volume XXIV, No. 2
June, 1985

Questionnaire Response

One thing that I've always liked about Arizonans is that they aren't afraid to express their views. This is true whether the subject is who has the better football team, ASU or U of A, or politics. The residents of the Grand Canyon State reaffirmed this for me as we tallied the results of our recent newsletter to the second congressional district. Arizonans have strong views on a number of current issues and they aren't afraid to tell you about it.

This is by no means a completely scientific survey. But I do feel that it is a fairly accurate assessment of how the Second Congressional District feels about the paramount issues facing the nation today. On many questions, such as the need to cut defense spending, we are very close to the numbers reflected in national opinion polls. In selecting the survey sample, we were also very careful to select a proportional representation of responses from all five counties.

By far the subject that generated the most interest was the federal budget deficit. Ninety-eight percent of those responding to the survey felt that it was important to cut the deficit. How do residents of the Second Congressional district want to see this done? Seventy-two percent want to freeze all federal spending at 1985 levels, 70% support cuts in the defense budget, while 89% of those surveyed want to raise tax revenues by closing loopholes. And yet, Arizonans strongly feel that we should not attack the deficit by cutting benefits for the elderly. Seventy-five percent of you are opposed to cuts in Social Security benefits, and 80% oppose cuts in the medicare program.

Reforming the federal tax system was also a key agenda item for most survey respondents. Ninety-

six percent of those answering agree that this is an important issue -- but there is less agreement on how we should go about this reformation. Forty-four percent of you would support the Treasury Department's tax reform plan as long as deductions for home mortgage interest and charity are retained. A flat tax of 17% is favored by 28% of those responding. A scant 5.5% want to keep the system as it is today.

Social Security is one of the biggest budget issues this year. Of those responding to the survey, 53 percent were willing to accept some adjustment in Social Security benefits as part of a deficit-reduction program. A small percentage, 12 percent, were willing to support a reduction in current benefits. Sixteen percent supported an elimination of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 1986, while 25 percent were willing to accept a 6-month delay in the 1986 COLA. But nearly half of the respondents, 47 percent, opposed any elimination or adjustment in benefits.

There is much concern about the growing defense budget, which has skyrocketed from $157 billion per year to $262 billion annually in just the past four years. But again, there is no clear-cut opinion as to how to best handle this issue. 37% of those responding would like to see defense spending cut below 1985 levels, 36% call for a defense budget freeze at 1985 levels. Some folks would like to see us spend more on defense -- 17% of you would like defense spending to keep pace with inflation. Only 11% of those responding voted to increase defense spending by $26 billion (5% increase).

(continued on page 2)

 
Arms control and foreign affairs questions proved to be difficult ones for most people. When asked to mark which statement "best" summarizes their views on arms control, 27% agreed that the arms race is out of control and we need an immediate, negotiated freeze on nuclear weapons. Thirty-two percent supported the freeze, but also wanted to push for an agreement with the Soviets to halt the development of "Star Wars." Another 32% of you said the President has the right idea and that we should continue to strengthen and modernize our nuclear weaponry until the Soviets agree to a major weapons reduction. Not all of you want to see us negotiating with the Soviets. Ten percent responding say they can't be trusted and we should call a halt to arms negotiations.

U.S. policy-makers have been unable to construct a plan for Central America that has widespread support. The diversity of views from respondents on this important subject reflects this assertion. Stopping all military aid to Central America was supported by 33% of you. There is some support for the President's plan to provide covert aid to the Contra forces -- 26% would like to see us pursue that course. Twenty-one percent support the more moderate course of aiding El Salvador's government but stopping all covert aid to the forces seeking to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Another 21% of you would support the U.S. in going to war, if need be, to stop communist-backed takeovers of Central American countries.

In the battle for immigration reform in Congress there has been little that most people can agree on, except that something needs to be done. Our survey reflects that general perception. Only eleven percent of you backed the contention that we should leave things the way they are now -- that the present immigration system is working. Ten percent called for more rigorous enforcement of our current immigration laws. Thirty-four percent of all respondents want to toughen our immigration laws to make it more difficult for immigrants to enter the country. Forty-five percent of those returning surveys support the "employer sanctions", a proposal that would make it illegal for U.S. employers to hire undocumented workers and set up a system of fines to enforce that law. Obviously, there are no easy answers to this emotional and divisive question. The debate has crossed many normal battle lines, republican and democrat, progres-

sive and conservative. I will continue to keep you informed of the progress of immigration reform efforts in Congress.

Another issue that has great emotional impact is the abortion question. As the law now stands, a woman may obtain an abortion during the first trimester of her pregnancy. Seventy-three percent of the residents want to see laws remain as they are, guaranteeing a woman's right to choose whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. Twenty-seven percent of those responding would like to see the Supreme Court decision that governs a woman's right to choose overturned.

Finally, on two local issues, strong support was expressed for the domestic copper industry and the Central Arizona Project. Seventy-three percent of the respondents support aiding the domestic copper industry, with 46% pushing for restricting foreign imports, either through tariffs or quotas, 14% calling for negotiations with foreign governments for a world-wide reduction in the production of foreign copper and 40% supporting letting free-market forces determine the future of the domestic copper industry.

We are nearing completion of the Central Arizona Project, which is expected to bring water to Phoenix this year and to Tucson in the early 1990s. Arizona residents strongly support this project, as they always have, with 84% of you saying that completing this job is important.

For 24 years now, I've been fortunate to serve as the representative of the Second Congressional District. I've seen the district change a great deal. The way a person chooses to represent a district does not change, though. These surveys are a great help to me as I vote on issues that affect the district and the country. Often, they aid me by letting me know how you feel on close calls.

The stewardship of a district's interests at times forces me to make decisions that may be politically unpopular. When these decisions come up, it is my job as your representative to weigh the options and serve as a judge of sorts over your interests. This is not a responsibility that is taken lightly. As stated at the opening of this report, Arizonans have strong opinions, and are not afraid to express them. And believe me, you let me know when you think I've made a bad call.

Please continue to do so.


 
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Survey Results

GENERAL ISSUES
Important
Not
Important
Reforming our federal tax system.
96%
4%
Aiding the domestic copper industry.
74%
25%
Reducing our trade deficit.
93%
7%
Increasing defense spending.
51%
49%
Continuing U.S. Policy in Central America.
65%
35%
Reforming U.S. Immigration laws.
84%
16%
Retaining student aid.
66%
34%
Reducing Medicare costs.
85%
15%
Cutting Social Security benefits.
57%
43%
Reducing the federal budget deficit.
98%
2%
Completing the CAP.
84%
16%
BUDGET/DEFICIT/TAXES
Support
Oppose
Freezing federal spending at 1985 levels.
72%
28%
Making cuts in the defense program.
70%
30%
Cutting Social Security.
25%
75%
Cutting Medicare benefits.
20%
80%
Raising tax revenues by closing tax loopholes.
89%
11%
Doing whatever it takes to reach a balanced budget by 1989.
60%
40%
TAX REFORM
Agree
Accept the Treasury Department's tax reform idea as long as individuals could still deduct for home mortgage interest and charitable deductions.
44%
Eliminate all deductions and adopt a 17% flat tax.
28%
Eliminate some tax loopholes without lowering tax rate.
23%
Keep the income tax system as it is today.
6%
DEFENSE
Agree
Freeze defense spending at 1985 levels.
36%
Increase defense spending to keep pace with inflation.
17%
Increase defense spending to provide a 5% growth rate.
11%
Cut defense spending below 1985 levels.
37%
SOCIAL SECURITY
Support reducing social security benefits.
12%
Support elimination of the 1986 Social Security cost-of-living (COLA) increase.
16%
Support a six month delay in the 1986 Social Security COLA.
25%
Oppose any elimination of benefits.
47%
ARMS CONTROL
We need an immediate, negotiated freeze on nuclear weapons.
26%
We need a nuclear freeze and an agreement halting "Star Wars" technology.
32%
We need to keep strengthening and modernizing our nuclear forces until the Soviets agree to a major weapons reduction.
32%
We should call a halt to all arms negotiations.
10%
CENTRAL AMERICA
Support the President's policy in Central America including aid to the Contra forces.
26%
Continue to support the government of El Salvador, but stop all government aid to the forces seeking to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.
21%
Stop all military aid to Central America.
33%
Go to war if necessary to stop a communist-backed takeover of Central American countries.
20%
(continued on page 4)
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DISTRICT ACTIVITIES
My Arizona staff is continuing an ambitious schedule of satellite office hours. If you are having problems with the federal government and are unable to travel to my Tucson or Phoenix offices, I encourage you to attend these satellite offices in your own community. On the third Thursday of every month we will operate satellite offices in Yuma; we will also be in Nogales each month to provide you with assistance. Other upcoming satellite locations include San Luis and Somerton. Outreach offices will also be held in four Phoenix and two Tucson locations. Please call our toll-free number (1-800-458-5547) for information on the times, dates and locations of our satellite offices.

You may have noticed that the address of our Phoenix office has changed. During early May, we moved the Phoenix district office to 522 West Roosevelt, in the heart of the Roosevelt Historic District. This new site is more centrally located in the district and will allow our Phoenix constituents to drop in and make use of our services. Please feel free to drop by and meet our Phoenix staff.



Survey Results (continued from page 3)
 
IMMIGRATION
Agree
Make it unlawful for employers to hire undocumented workers and set up a system of fines to enforce that law.
45%
Allocate more money for rigorous enforcement of our current immigration laws.
10%
Leave things the way they are now -- our current immigration laws are working.
11%
Toughen our laws and make it more difficult for immigrants to enter the country.
33%
ABORTION
Agree
We should leave our abortion laws as they are.
73%
We should institute a constitutional ban on abortions.
27%
COPPER
We should restrict foreign imports through tariffs or quotas.
46%
We should negotiate with foreign governments for a world-wide reduction of foreign copper production.
14%
Let free-market forces determine the future of our copper industry.
40%


Previous Report: March, 1985 -- Moving With Arizona Into The Future
Next Report: August, 1985 -- It's Later Than It's Ever Been


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