Utahns give Hatch and Lee slightly higher marks for job performance

Since U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s retirement announcement, his approval ratings among Utahns has rebounded – a bit.

A new UtahPolicy.com poll by Dan Jones & Associates finds that 52 percent of Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job Hatch is doing in his last year in office.

Forty-three percent still disapprove of Hatch.

And 6 percent don’t have an opinion.

Likewise, Sen. Mike Lee also sees his approval rating climb – a bit.

Jones finds:

  • 58 percent of Utahns approve of the job Lee is doing.
  • A third (33 percent) disapprove.
  • And 10 percent don’t know.



Democrats really don’t like Hatch these days; his disapproval rating is 83-14 percent.

And political independents also disapprove of him, 55-37 percent.

During 2017, as Hatch vacillated over whether he would run for an unprecedented eighth term this year, his approval ratings dropped below 50 percent – clearly the worst of his long 42-year career.

Other polling showed that Hatch would have had a tough time winning the GOP nomination this year.

In January Hatch announced that he would indeed retire. The Orrin Hatch Foundation is in the process of being set up at a local university where he will have a leading role.

Previous Jones’ surveys for UtahPolicy.com showed that a year ago Hatch had problems with the right wing of the Utah GOP – no doubt in part over his promise not to run again made after his 2012 victory (a promise he considered breaking) and the fiscal weakness of a U.S. government Hatch had a major influence over for a long time.

But now Hatch has rebounded, also, among those who told Jones they are “very conservative” politically:

  • The archconservatives approve of the job Hatch is now doing, 70-28 percent.
  • Among the “somewhat” conservatives, he is liked, 71-22 percent.
  • While the “moderates” don’t like him, 48-44 percent; the “somewhat” liberals disapprove of him, 84-10 percent; and the very liberals are against him, 91-4 percent.

Considering political philosophy, Lee is seen in more glowing terms among conservatives:

  • The “very” conservative Utahns really like Lee, 89-9 percent. Lee has a 19-point lead over Hatch here.
  • “Somewhat” conservatives like Lee, 69-14 percent.
  • “Moderates” like Lee, 46-43 percent.
  • The “somewhat” and “very” liberals have little use for him, 73-16 percent disapprove to 93-5 percent, respectively.

Republicans adore Lee, his approval rating among his party faithful, 79-10 percent.

Again, Democrats don’t like Lee, 79-15 percent.

And independents are split on Lee, 47 percent approve of him, 46 percent disapprove.

And here is a final interesting number:

GOP President Donald Trump has continually had problems with Utah Mormons, no doubt because of his very checkered personal past with women in general, and new charges that he has had various affairs during his current marriage.

Hatch has been a stalwart defender of Trump, Lee much less so.

Jones finds that among “very active” Mormons:

— Hatch has an approval rating of 63-31 percent

— While Lee has an approval rating of 72-19 percent.

Nearly a third of “very active” Mormons don’t like Hatch who, like Lee, is a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jones polled 609 adults from Feb. 9-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.