Although a year has passed since the first of three huge pumps started draining the Great Salt Lake's brine into the West Desert, most Utahns remain unconvinced that pumping was really needed to control the lake's level, according to a Dan Jones & Associates survey recently commissioned by the Deseret News.
Only 41 percent of the 904 people contacted felt pumping was necessary, compared with 53 percent who thought it wasn't needed. Five percent didn't know.The survey also showed that Gov. Norm Bangerter is the person most closely linked with the pumping project, even though the plan was originally proposed by former Gov. Scott M. Matheson and ultimately approved and funded by the Legislature.
Of those surveyed, 51 percent said Bangerter should take primary credit or responsibility for the pumping project. Twenty percent felt the Legislature was responsible.
Only 6 percent said Matheson who's administration conducted the first studies on how to lower the lake, and who said prior to leaving office in early 1985 that pumping the lake was the only viable solution should be credited or blamed for the pumps.
Not surprisingly, more Democrats blame Bangerter, a Republican, for pumping the lake than Matheson. Republicans questioned in the poll, while still listing Bangerter as the primary mover behind pumping, hold the Legislature more accountable for it than do the Democrats questioned.
Results were nearly identical to a similar poll conducted six months earlier, in which 41 percent said pumping was needed and 51 percent thought it unnecessary.
That same survey also showed 52 percent felt Bangerter was primarily responsible for pumping.