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Utah Poll Finds Most Fault Both Waldholtzes

December 17, 1995|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz's marathon litany of "Joe did it" excuses for her financial predicament didn't sway Utah voters, a newspaper poll concludes.

Despite a tearful five-hour news conference in which she blamed her estranged husband for thefts from her campaign, her father, herself and creditors, a poll by the Salt Lake Tribune showed that more people than ever are clamoring for her resignation.

The poll was conducted Wednesday, two days after the freshman Republican went before the cameras to address for the first time questions that have dogged her since she won the seat in 1994.

The congresswoman blamed Joe Waldholtz, her husband and campaign treasurer, for funneling $1.8 million in apparently illegal contributions into her campaign. All the while, she said, he was lying, embezzling cash, ripping off her millionaire father and engaging in "questionable lifestyle choices."

A U.S. grand jury is probing Joe Waldholtz, a political consultant, for a $1.7-million check-kiting scheme and has questioned his wife. The Federal Election Commission also is looking into the matter, as is the Internal Revenue Service, which says the couple failed to file tax returns in 1994.

The poll, involving interviews with 507 voters in her 2nd Congressional District, has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

An overwhelming 78% said Rep. Waldholtz must accept equal or most of the blame for the cascading problems and illegalities. Just 16% accepted her premise that her husband is wholly to blame.

The number of constituents who believe she must resign immediately rose slightly, from 36% to 42%, when compared with a poll conducted by the newspaper before her statement. Those who believe she should finish her term dipped from 54% to 47%.

Nearly 70% don't want her to seek reelection and just 16% said they'd vote for her again. Three out of five of those who don't want her name on the ballot identified themselves as Republicans.

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