Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert continues to knock it out of the ballpark in his job approval ratings, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
A very healthy 72 percent of voters “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job Herbert is doing as governor – giving him a lot of political capital as he deals with legislators over the next several weeks of the general session.
But what is also good for the Herbert administration is that Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox gets very good job approval ratings, as well.
And more and more Utahns are getting to know Cox, who almost assuredly will run for governor next year.
By law, Cox is the state’s top election official, and oversees the Utah Election Office.
Cox was in the news during last year’s elections as that election boss, but he perhaps is better known for being the administration’s point man on the well-publicized homeless battles recently.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that 63 percent of Utahns approve of the job Cox is doing.
Here are some of the numbers:
— Utahns approve of Herbert’s job approval, 72-21 percent, with 6 percent “don’t know.”
— Utahns approve of the job Cox is doing, 63-13 percent, with 24 percent “don’t know.”
You would think Herbert would do well among his fellow Utah Republicans, and he does: 86-10 percent favorable.
But here is an amazing number for Herbert:
— 51 percent of Democrats approve of the job he is doing as a Republican governor.
— 42 percent of Democrats don’t like Herbert.
— Democrats like the job Cox is doing, 51-24 percent, with 24 percent (or one-fourth) not knowing how he is doing.
— Political independents, who don’t belong to any political party, approve of Herbert, 65-28 percent.
— The independents approve of Cox, 56-17 percent.
The Republican numbers are critical for Cox as he prepares to run to replace the retiring Herbert next year.
There will be a number of Republicans seeking the top state job, and any leg up Cox can get over the next few months will be all the better for him, especially among his own party voters.
As the top election officer, Cox has been out front in supporting SB54 – the 2014 law that some hardcore Republican Party bosses hate, for it allows candidates to gather voter signatures to get on the primary ballot, bypassing, if the candidate wishes, the 4,500 state GOP delegates at convention.
SB54 also allows candidates to both gather signatures AND go to the convention.
And even though Cox is only following state law in upholding and advocating for SB54’s dual route, some rightwing GOP Central Committee members – who continue to battle SB54 in court – don’t like Cox. Or Herbert, for that matter.
But Herbert and Cox are clearly on the right side of the SB54 issue as far as Republicans in general are concerned, and Democrats and independents, as well.
In fact, DJA finds that among those who said they are “very conservative” politically – and so may be more likely to disagree with SB54 – both men do just fine:
— Herbert has a huge job approval rating among those who are “very conservative:” 85-12 percent, only 3 percent don’t know.
— Two-thirds of the “very conservative” folks (66 percent) like Cox, while 7 percent disapprove of him and 27 percent don’t know.
So the latest poll numbers show Cox is not in trouble with his party’s right-wingers over his support of SB54, although some of his fellow Republican gubernatorial candidates next year may try to make supporting SB54 a wedge issue.
Big majorities of the “somewhat conservative” and “moderate” Utahns like Herbert and Cox.
And here is an interesting number: 55 percent of those who said they are “somewhat liberal” in the politics APPROVE of the job Herbert, the Republican, is doing as governor.
And 54 percent approve of Cox.
When you think about the partisan splits in Congress, and so many Democrats really disliking GOP President Donald Trump, Herbert and Cox getting majority support from Democrats and “somewhat” liberals is, well, quite amazing.
It really does speak to Utah’s non-partisan feelings when it comes to running state government, as opposed to federal government politics.
As reported previously, the new DJA poll shows that only 8 percent of the “somewhat liberal” Utahns approve of Trump; only 6 percent of Utah Democrats overall.
DJA polled 882 voters from Jan. 3-15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.