SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly half of registered voters who believe that recent accusations against Utah Attorney General John Swallow indicate he did something illegal or unethical say he should resign, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Brigham Young University Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy surveyed 500 Utah voters this month and about two-thirds had heard of the scandal involving Swallow.
Of those who were aware of the scandal, 17 percent said Swallow did something illegal and 41 percent say he did something unethical but not illegal, the polls shows. Only 14 percent of that group believes he didn't do anything unethical and 28 percent were unsure about the ethics or legality.
Among those who say the Republican attorney general acted illegally or unethically, 49 percent felt he should resign. Another 34 percent say he should remain in office, while 18 percent were unsure.
"It's not surprising some members of the public are concerned, given the unfair and negative nature of the news coverage," the Attorney General said Wednesday. "I have no plans to resign and look forward to being cleared of wrongdoing once the investigation is complete."
Indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson claims Swallow helped broker a deal to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as part of plan to derail a federal investigation into Johnson's Internet marketing company.
The Federal Trade Commission shut down iWorks two years ago and seized Johnsons's millions of dollars in assets. Johnson also faces federal fraud charges related to his business.
"So far in this affair, it appears the newly elected attorney general is without any defenders of his own," according to the center. "And consistent with other trends in public opinion and scandals, there is a partisan dimension."
Democrats more readily accused Swallow of wrongdoing, while Republicans were more hesitant.
About 29 percent of Democrats say Swallow did something illegal, while only 13 percent of Republicans agree. But both Democrats (47 percent) and Republicans (40 percent) agree he did something unethical, according to the poll.
Contributing: Richard Piatt