If the Persian Gulf crisis continues until after Christmas, 42% of Utahns would favor taking offensive military action against Saddam Hussein, according to the KBYU-Utah Colleges Exit Poll.

The poll, which surveyed 1,800 Utah voters Nov. 6, also showed that Utahns oppose leading the national crusade against abortion and support raising corporate income taxes and decreasing defense spending to reduce the federal budget deficit.Conducted by Brigham Young University political science professor David B. Magleby and more than 400 university students from across the state, the exit poll not only supplied data on voting but also surveyed public opinion in the state.

Universities participating in the exit poll included BYU, Utah State, the College of Eastern Utah, Dixie, Snow and Weber State.

Among their findings:

- If there is no change in the Persian Gulf situation, 42 percent of Utah voters favor taking offensive military action against Saddam. Thirty-three percent say President Bush should give economic sanctions more time, 16 percent say he should negotiate and 10 percent say the U.S. should remove its troops from Saudi Arabia.

- Over half (55 percent) of Utahns "strongly approve" of the way President Bush is handling the Persian Gulf crisis. Nineteen percent approve and 16 percent disapprove of the situation.

- Oil companies are to blame for the increase in gasoline prices, say 78 percent of voters; just 12 percent blame Saddam. Very few blame the crisis on local service stations, Congress or President Bush.

- Utahns don't want to lead the fight against abortion. The poll showed 56 percent do not want the state to lead the issue; 44 percent would favor the state's aggressive pursuit of federal abortion restrictions.

- Congress, according to 50 percent of Utah voters, is responsible for the federal deficit. Just 5 percent blame the deficit on the president alone; 45 percent think both the president and Congress are responsible.

- A large percentage of Utahns - 78 percent - would support legislation recently passed in other states to restrict the terms served by members of Congress to 12 years. Only 18 percent think the terms should be unlimited.

- To resolve the budget problem, 76 percent favor increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol. Fifty-three percent of voters support decreasing defense spending. Increased taxes on capital gains were also favored by 43 percent.

- Fifty percent believe taxes on personal income should be lowered; 45 percent believe taxes should be lowered on gasoline.

- Half of Utahns say funding for Medicare should be increased; 39 percent say it should stay the same.