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VOTERS SPLIT ON WHETHER ENID SHOULD QUIT

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Registered voters in the district of Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz, R-Utah, are split on whether she should resign.

A new Deseret News-KSL poll shows 49 percent of registered voters said she should leave office now, 48 percent said she should serve out her term and 3 percent are undecided. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 7 percent.The numbers for Waldholtz, however, are slightly better among all 2nd District residents - not just those registered to vote.

The poll shows 49 percent of all residents said she should stay in office, 47 percent said she should resign and 3 percent are undecided.

Of course, Waldholtz has said she will not resign despite acknowledged campaign law violations and check kiting - which she blames on her estranged husband and campaign treasurer, Joe - that are being investigated by a federal grand jury.

In fact, she is still considering seeking re-election.

She said after a grand jury appearance last week that she will make a final decision on reelection sometime "well in advance" of the March 18 filing deadline - which is now five weeks away.

However, if half of the voters in her district believe she should resign - as the poll shows - reelection obviously would be difficult if not impossible.

Waldholtz declined comment on the poll, which was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 among 204 2nd District residents.

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Mike Zuhl said the poll shows, "She should do the right thing and resign. . . . She violated the public trust. The blame-it-on-Joe strategy is wearing thin. And at some point she will have to accept responsibility."

Zuhl added that Democrats are still salivating, however, at the chance that a weakened Waldholtz may seek re-election anyway - which would give them a better at recapturing her seat. "If she wants to defend herself with voting public, let her stand for election again."

Waldholtz's explanations since the financial scandals broke in November do not seem to have helped her much.

The percentage of total 2nd District residents who say she should resign rose from 40 percent in a Nov. 16 poll to 44 percent on Dec. 11 to 47 percent in the latest poll.

Meanwhile, the percentage who says she should remain in office rose slightly less, from 44 percent on Nov. 16 to 49 percent both on Dec. 11 and the latest poll.

The poll shows most demographic groups are also fairly evenly split about whether Wald-holtz should resign.

Among men, 50 percent say she should resign and 49 percent say she should not. Among women, 46 percent say she should resign and 50 percent say she should not. All age and education groups are also fairly evenly split.

Interestingly, one group that seems to support Waldholtz in relatively large numbers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The poll showed 60 percent of LDS members surveyed said Waldholtz should stay in office, and 39 percent said she should resign.

As expected, Waldholtz also has relatively strong support from Republicans - with 68 saying she should remain and 33 percent say she should resign. Almost the opposite occurs with Democrats, with 64 percent saying she should resign and 35 percent saying she should stay.

Among political independents, 48 percent say she should serve out her term and 46 percent say she should resign.

Revelations about the Wald-holtzes in recent months include that her 1994 campaign spent $2 million that came illegally in loans from her father - which Enid says Joe arranged and used without her knowledge. Democrats say the Waldholtzes used that to buy the election.

Enid's lawyers and others have also accused Joe of embezzling money from donors, the Utah Republican Party (where he was an interim director), his parents and other relatives. They also accuse him of living a charade of being a millionaire by using others' money from embezzlement and check kit-ing.

Enid this month also released new campaign forms showing that her campaign committees received up to $239,405 illegally last year - meaning any 1996 re-election campaign is also tarnished by financial irregularities.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

From what you know or have heard about her personal and campaign finance problems, do you believe Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz should serve out the remainder of her U.S. House term, or should she resign her office now and a special election be held to replace her?

Feb. 1 Dec. 11 Nov. 16

DEFINITELY SERVE OUT TERM 26% 27% 24%

PROBABLY SERVE OUT TERM 23% 22% 20%

PROBABLY RESIGN 14% 15% 13%

DEFINITELY RESIGN 33% 29% 27%

DON'T KNOW 3% 7% 17%

Error margin is plus or minus 7.0 percent. Poll of 204 2nd House District residents conducted Jan. 30 and Feb. 1. Copyright 1996, Deseret News.