While John Tower can count on powerful allies in Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch in his controversial bid to win Senate confirmation as defense secretary, he doesn't have the backing of Garn's or Hatch's Utah constituents, according to the latest Deseret News/KSL TV poll.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a poll conducted between Feb. 28 and March 2 that 48 percent of 607 Utahns questioned Tower's confirmation to the Bush Cabinet.Only 34 percent of the poll's respondents favored Tower's confirmation. Eighteen percent didn't know.
Tower fared slightly better with Utah Republicans, with 39 percent expressing support for his confirmation, compared to 41 percent against. Twenty-one percent didn't know.
Utah Democrats, meanwhile, were staunchly opposed to Tower's nomination, with only 25 percent voicing support, with 62 percent opposed. Only 13 percent said they didn't know.
Tower was rejected by the Armed Services Committee Feb. 23 in a vote that closely followed partisan lines. He has been dogged by allegations about his drinking habits and womanizing.
He has also come under fire for possible conflicts of interest posed by his earning hundreds of thousands of dollars as a defense industry consultant after leaving the Senate.
Early last week, Tower, a 24-year veteran of the Senate, promised to abstain from drinking if confirmed.
None of the hubbub has seemed to shake the hearty endorsements of Garn and Hatch, though.
Hatch, in fact, was scheduled on Friday to speak on Tower's behalf on the Senate floor, but his speech was postponed until Monday.
Hatch has called Tower knowledgeable and capable of reforming the Pentagon in a way that would strengthen national security. "He is the ideal choice for the job because he is a rock-ribbed conservative who understands the importance of peace though strength," Hatch said.
Garn, earlier this week, locked horns with Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, on the Senate floor over Tower's alleged drinking problem. Garn said he's never noticed any drinking problem. Glenn said Tower as much as admitted he had one.
"In all the years I have worked with John Tower and traveled with him, I have never seen him intoxicated," Garn said in an earlier interview.
The final vote on Tower isn't expected to come until late this week.
Deseeret News/KSL Poll
President Bush's nomination of John Tower to be secretary of defense has been rather controversial in recent weeks. From your perspective, do you feel John Tower should be confirmed by the Senate?
Definitely should 15 percent
Probably should 19 percent
Probably should not 17 percent
Definitely should not 31 percent
Don't know 18 percent
Sample size: 607; margin of error plus or minus 4 percent