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GOP LEADERS REJECT PLANS TO SURVEY CAUCUS PARTICIPANTS

Upon further consideration, state Republican leaders have decided not to use a survey of GOP mass meetings offered by two BYU political science professors.

Last week, GOP executive director Dave Hansen said Republicans wanted to go ahead with the survey even though gubernatorial candidate Richard Eyre objected to the participation of Bud Scruggs in the survey.Scruggs, former chief of staff to Gov. Norm Bangerter, is a visiting professor at Brigham Young University. He and BYU political science professor David Magleby wanted to conduct a survey of the party caucuses, formally known as mass meetings, on April 27.

Magleby and Scruggs were asking the Republicans to pay $15,000, Democrats to pay $15,000 and the lieutenant governor's office - who oversees and funds elections - to pay $15,000 for the survey. The pair promised to compile the names of state and county delegates - elected in the mass meetings - within 48 hours, much quicker than usual.

They also would provide a demographic breakout of mass meeting attendees and their stands on a variety of issues.

Eyre objected to Scruggs, saying he is an inside adviser to his main GOP gubernatorial opponent, Mike Leavitt. Scruggs did serve as Leavitt's director of strategy but says he left that volunteer post some time ago. Eyre was angry at some comments Scruggs made about Eyre's campaign last year. Eyre warned state GOP leaders that they were going ahead with the Magle-by/-Scruggs survey "at the expense of party unity."

Monday, state party chairman Bruce Hough said upon further reflection GOP leaders decided not to proceed with the Magleby/Scruggs survey. "It was just too expensive," Hough said.

"This whole thing, planning for the caucuses, had to come together this week. The survey (proposed by Magleby and Scruggs) was too long. Our people (at the mass meetings) will have enough to do without filling out a long questionnaire. We believe we can get the most vital information - the names and addresses of the newly elected delegates - together quickly. Maybe even within 24 hours. The other stuff, demographics of those who go to our mass meetings, we can get just as accurately through polling later," Hough said.

He said Eyre's objections to Scruggs' participation didn't change GOP leaders' minds. "He had his objections, but they were unfounded. It wasn't who was doing the survey. It was the cost."

Scruggs said he's disappointed that the Republicans and Democrats won't be using their survey. "For purely academic reasons this would be fascinating. No one has really studied who attends. We knew this was a complex coalition to put together, that if everyone didn't come on board it would fall apart."