Reagan may not be riding tall in West after all

The Rocky Mountain states were the heart of Ronald Reagan country last election, but Westerners are not overly optimistic about his performance as president.

At least that is the conclusion of pollsters at the Behavior Research Center in Phoenix who conducted a survey of 1,000 people in the eight-state Rocky Mountain region.

Although 62 percent of the voters in this area cast their ballots for Mr. Reagan last November, the surveyors found only one policy area where a broad consensus of respondents felt that the new President would do a good job: keeping the US strong militarily.

Fifty-three percent expected Reagan would do a good or excellent job restoring US prestige abroad, but 42 percent expected his performance to be only fair or poor in this area.

Expectations that he would restore "confidence in government" were similar. At the same time, only 35 percent felt he would do a good or excellent job at keeping the US out of war during his term.

On domestic issues, Westerners responded more pessimistically. Forty-eight percent thought the President would do a good job reducing government spending. Five percent fewer felt he will do as well at keeping the US economy "strong and stable." Only 35 percent anticipate that his programs will be effective at dealing with inflation, and only 31 percent estimate he will do a good or excellent job of solving the energy crisis.

While editorial cartoonists almost universally have capped Mr. Reagan with a cowboy hat, Rocky Mountain residents are not so sanguine about the strength of his rural, Western leanings. Fifty-two percent expect him to be only poor or fair at helping solve Western water problems, and 56 percent feel similarly about his efforts to solve the problems facing farmers.

The survey was a random phone sampling of adult heads of households and was conducted last month.

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