Washington — Voters from Rhode Island to Oregon endorsed the grass-roots movement urging the United States and Soviet Union to adopt a mutual nuclear weapons freeze.
Only Arizona among the nine states given a choice appeared to be agreeing with President Reagan that a halt in weapons development and deployment would lock the nation into a position of inferiority. The question remained in doubt Wednesday in California, but with a quarter of the vote counted, the nonbinding nuclear freeze proposition had moved into a 52-to-48 percent lead.
The freeze was either passed or was leading in Rhode Island, Montana, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Michigan. It was also overwhelmingly approved in the District of Columbia, Dade County, Fla. (Miami), Philadelphia, and a host of other cities and counties. It was turned down in rural Izard and Stone Counties in Arkansas.
CBS said that on the basis of its own polling, 55 percent of the new House members favor the freeze, compared with 49 percent of the incumbents.
Another campaign issue got a different reaction in California: A $5 million campaign by gun supporters helped shoot down a referendum on a proposal to impose strict restrictions on the use of pistols in that state.
Supporters of the measure conceded defeat with the vote running against them by almost 2 to 1, with 17 percent of the vote counted.
A complete analysis of the electorate's verdict on key ballot issues will appear in tomorrow's Monitor.