An anti-nuclear arms group has taken an unusual - and expensive - step to urge Utah's senators to help ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers commissioned a survey of Utah residents by two well-known national pollsters - and it found that 83 percent of Utahns want the treaty ratified.The poll was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, considered a Republican polling firm, and The Mellman Group, a Democratic firm, among 400 Utah residents last month.
Daryl Kimball, president of the coalition of 17 arms control groups, said it chose to conduct such polls in six states where key senators are undecided on the treaty - Utah, Ohio, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon and Tennessee.
"We were very interested in making sure that Utah senators, who are pivotal to the debate, fully understand where their constituents are on this important national security issue," Kimball said.
Spokesmen for Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, R-Utah, said both are still studying the treaty and have not yet decided whether to support it.
Mary Jane Collipriest, press secretary for Bennett, said, "Sen. Bennett has a strong anti-proliferation record and has voted in favor of legitimate and verifiable arms control measures, which have come before the Senate.
"The CTBT has not come before the Senate, and when it does, Sen. Bennett will closely review it just as he does all arms control measures to see if it is properly worded and something he can responsibly support," she said.
President Clinton sent the treaty to ban nuclear testing to the Senate last year, but it has yet to act on it. Clinton recently renewed calls for ratification to help encourage India and Pakistan to stop their new nuclear testing and arms race.
The survey asked, "The United States and 140 other countries have signed a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would prohibit nuclear weapons test explosions worldwide. Do you think the U.S. Senate should approve or disapprove of this treaty?"
It found 83 percent of Utahns said it should be approved.
The poll also found that 85 percent of Utahns had heard some or a great deal about nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, 87 percent consider it a very or somewhat serious threat to international security and 91 percent favored urging the countries to cease tests and approve the test ban treaty.
While Bennett and Hatch are undecided, Democrat Scott Leckman - who is running against Bennett - issued a press release saying he strongly favors the treaty and would vote to ratify it.
"The people of Utah deserve a senator who will represent their beliefs in Washington," he said.
"Ratification of the CTBT will help put pressure on India, Pakistan and other hold-out states to join the treaty. The United States should continue its role as the leader in the test ban," Leckman said.