In the first assessment of public opinion on the House probe into alleged South Korean influence-buying in Congress, four key facts come to light among those who have followed the Korean probe):
A majority of 71 per cent belive that one-fifth or more Congress (535 members) accepted money or favors from South Korean businessman Tongsun Park.
The extent of involvement of members of Congress has yet to be determined, with estimates ranging from a handful of congressmen to more than a fourth of the House membership said to have accepted maney or favors from Park.
A majority would like to see the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct push its investigation faster. This view is held by both Republicans and Democrats, and by those who think there is widespread illegaity and those who think there is not. The ethics committee has scheduled no more meetings until Congress returns from its August recess after Labor Day. Leon Jaworski, chief investigator of the House probe, says open hearings may have to wait until early next year.
More than one-third (36 per cent) believe the situation is likely to be a major scandal like Watergate.
A substantial proprtion of both Republicans and Democrats predict what some Republican partisans are tearing "the Democratic Watergate."
Despite widespread concern over the Korean probe, public confidence in Congress, while on the low side, has not slipped in recent weeks.
In the survey, 35 per cent says they approvedof the way Congress is handling its job , compared to 34 per cent in June.
The House ethics committee is exploring accusations that Korean lobbyists wooed votes for milira ytassistance with campaign contributions, gifts, lavish parties, free Asian trips and business deals.
This is the first question asked: "Have you heard or read about the investigations concerning whether or not some congressmen took money or favors from South Korean businessman Tongsun Park?" [CHART OMITTED]
The aware group (71 per cent) was then asked:
"As you may know, the ethics committee of the House of Representatives is investigating the question of whether or not congressmen accepted money or favors from Tongsun Park. Do you think the committee is pushing its investigation too fast or not fast enough?"
Here are the results, nationally and by party affiliation: [CHART OMITTED]
This question was asked next of the aware group:
"Just your opinion, do you think most of the congressmen who accepted money or favors from Korean businessman Tongsun Park did something illegal - that is, actually borke the law - or not?" [CHART OMITTED]
This question was asked next:
"As you probably know, there are 535 members of Congress. Just your opinion, how many current members of Congress do you think have accepted money or favors from Tongsun Park?" Here are the results, based on the aware group: Fifth of Congress or more 25%
Less than one-fifth 30
No estimate given 49
The next question, and results based on the aware group:
"Do you think this situation is likely to be a major scandal like Watergate, or not?" [CHART OMITTED]The results are baseed on interviews with 1,500 adults, 18 and older, taken in person in more than 300 scientifically selected localities across the nation Aug. 5-8.