Reagan's southern California base still solid, but tax hike worries some
When a President ponders his political future, he inevitably looks to the folks back home.
And as Ronald Reagan considers whether to run for a second term, he must be pleased with what Californians are telling him.
Although the President is in hot water with some conservatives for failing to bring the federal deficit under control and radically revise the federal government's stance on thorny social issues, he's still a favorite son in California.
Nearly two out of three California Republicans want to see their native son run again in 1984, according to a recently released California Poll.
What's more, according to the poll results, when Mr. Reagan was matched against eight possible Democratic presidential candidates, a cross section of Democratic and Republican California voters selected Reagan as the winner in each case - by anywhere from 4 to 33 percentage points, depending on his opponent. (Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the most popular choice among Democrats, also makes the strongest showing against Reagan, according to the poll).
Monitor interviews with southern California conservative Republicans reveal much the same support for the President. Homemakers, business executives, small-business owners, and others indicated a generally high level of approval for the President and a great deal of patience with his economic program. As schoolteacher Allen K. Bridges puts it, ''To expect a president to turn the whole thing around in one year - it's ridiculous.''
''Looking at the results, I'd say he's more on the right track than not,'' says Karla Farrell, a Palos Verdes Estates housewife who expresses dismay over continued high unemployment, but cites drops in interest and inflation rates as proof that Reagan policies were beginning to work.
''I think he's nearer right than anybody else who's been in office for a long time,'' she continues. ''I would rather have him than anybody else I can think of right now.''
For the most part, conservatives interviewed by the Monitor gave the President the benefit of the doubt on the recent tax increase bill - some calling it a necessary compromise in the face of pressures Reagan battles from all sides as president; and others applauding it as further proof of the pragmatic flexibility he demonstrated during his two terms as governor of California.
''The man's batting better than .750, as far as what I voted for him for,'' says Randall Brelsford, a media relations expert with a major West Coast bank. ''What he's doing for the economy is fantastic.
''He's a very pragmatic man,'' he adds. ''In an effort to calm the market and stem the criticism of the rising tide of federal deficits, it (the tax increase bill) was something he had to do. I think it left a bad taste in his mouth; it certainly did in mine. But it had to be done.''
Still, Mr. Reagan comes in for some tough criticism, largely because of his handling of economic issues. These voters say either thatthey still support the President but in 1984 would consider backing a candidate like Rep. Jack Kemp (R) of New York, or indicate they've become totally disenchanted with Reagan already.
''To see Ronald Reagan standing with Tip O'Neill and Teddy Kennedy, no less, saying this is good for you. . . . I know they have to compromise, but I'm really disappointed,'' says Frank Runzler, referring to the tax hike.
''I'm ready to be a no-vote from here on out,'' says Mr. Runzler, who is president of Frank J. Runzler & Associates Inc., a manufacturer's representative for oil-field specialty products.