A poll that could be crucial to the Panama Canal treaties yesterday showed Nebraskans against them.
However, with amendments attached to the poll question pertaining to security and U.S. usage, feelings switch sharply.
That swich observers said in Omaha, could put Edward Zorinsky (D-Neb.) one of about a half-dozen senators reported uncommitted on the treaties into the approval column.
Zorinsky requested the statewide poll early in February, when it became apparent his vote might be crucial. The World Herald conducted it through Elmwood, Neb., professional poollster Joe Williams.
Zorinsky has said he would weigh the results of the poll heavily in his vote on the treaties.
According to one question, 62 percent of those interviewed said they were against the treaties, while 19 percent favored them. Another 19 percent held no opinion.
But when two provisions were attached, 45 percent interviewed said they favored the treaty, 40 percent were against it and 15 percent held no opinion.
The provisions concerned emergency use and defense of the canal. The poll inquired of the subjects if they approved the treaties providing the United States could defend the canal after the year 2000, and if "in times of need"U.S. warships could go to the head of the line. Both provisions are expected to bbe incorporated into the e e e e treaties by the Senate.
This drew favor from those interviewed.
Zorinsky has had no comment on the poll, and said he might decide how to vote Monday or Tuesday. However, Omaha sources say the sentiments expressed in the polls could make Zorinsky "feel safe" voting for approval.
Zorinsky has drawn some heat in his home state about the poll. The Lincoln Star, which had endorsed him in the 1976 election, has favored approval of the treaties, and called Zorinsky's poll idea "misguided and gutless."
However, it is thought here that Zorinsky has been following the old Nebraska statehouse gambit of not wasting a vote on a losing cause. If the canall treaties were towin, and Zorinsky's vote was key to the success, that would ingratiate him with President Carter.