Utahns say fed help OK against polygamy
A push for federal help prosecuting crimes within polygamous communities has the support of a majority of Utahns, a new poll shows.
The poll was conducted Aug. 13-15 – three weeks after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid called polygamous communities a “form of organized crime” and asked the federal government to “play a larger role in this fight.”
The hearing focused specifically on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has been the target of state investigations in Utah, Arizona and Texas.
Majority support for greater federal involvement held steady across several demographic categories: gender, political party affiliation and religious affiliation.
But members of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which first publicly disavowed polygamy 118 years ago, were more likely to oppose federal prosecution than “non-LDS” respondents.
The poll found 31 percent of LDS respondents oppose federal prosecution, compared with 19 percent of those identified as “non-LDS.”
Nearly a fifth of the respondents said they were unsure whether federal involvement was necessary.
But officials in three states – Utah, Arizona and Texas, which is at the forefront of the largest ongoing investigation involving the FLDS – have asked for federal help.
Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. of Washington polled 400 Utah residents for The Salt Lake Tribune. The survey’s error margin is plus or minus 5 points.
The Mormon Church did indeed “publicly disavowed polygamy” — but there is more to that story than most newspapers report