Most Utahns like the job Gov. Norm Bangerter did during the recent Legislature. They're less enthusiastic about lawmakers' actions, however. Still, most give the Legislature, overall, passing marks, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a poll completed just after the session ended late last month that 67 percent approve of the job the governor did. That's a fine rating. By comparison, after the 1990 session Bangerter received a 55 percent approval rating in a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll.Lawmakers get only a 54 percent approval rating for their work in the 1991 session, with 38 percent disapproving of what the Legislature did.
Utah's tough new abortion law, which generated a great deal of controversy nationally and locally, is viewed favorably by a majority of Utahns. Fifty-nine percent approve of the law - which prohibits abortions except in cases of rape or incest, properly reported; to save the life of the mother or where the pregnancy would result in grave harm to the mother's health; or where the fetus is severely deformed.
Thirty-nine percent oppose the new law, which Bangerter says won't be enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality.
Utahns don't like the Legislature's solution to the complicated AMAX property tax problem - 68 percent oppose the property tax shift required in the new law, Jones found. The solution results in a 1 percent increase on homes' property taxes, a 3.1 percent increase on local commercial property and a 2.4 percent increase on cars and boats. Big, multicounty businesses like mines and utilities see a 7.4 percent property tax decrease.
Jones found that more than 50 percent of Utahns don't like lawmakers giving the Salt Palace $15 million for renovation or loaning McDonnell Douglas $10 million in state money to expand Salt Lake operations or giving local county commissions the power to place a 1 percent sales tax on restaurant meals.
Also, 65 percent of Utahns don't like the fact that legislators didn't give a cost-of-living raise to welfare families or fund other Human Service programs at levels that keep pace with inflation.
Jones found that 78 percent of Utahns liked lawmakers raising the cigarette tax by 31/2 cents a pack to pay for drug intervention programs for young abusers.
And 56 percent of Utahns agreed with increasing driver's license fees by $5 to hire more people so lines at the driver's license bureaus will be shorter.
The highest approval rating of any legislative action included in the poll comes regarding a new, tough financial disclosure law for legislators' own campaigns and a new law that requires registered lobbyists to detail how much they spend on lawmakers. Eighty-one percent of Utahns agree with those laws, Jones found.
How would you rate the job performance of Gov. Bangerter?
Approve = 67%
Disapprove = 27%
Don't know = 6%
How would you rate the job performance of The Utah Legislature?
Approve = 54%
Disapprove = 38%
Don't know = 9%