Poll Numbers Show Atty. Gen. Reyes in Good Political Shape

GOP Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is looking good as he approaches his 2016 re-election, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

Reyes gets a 53 percent “naked re-elect” number in the new poll by Dan Jones & Associates.

An incumbent wants to be above 50 percent in any naked re-elect survey – where the officeholder is not matched against a person.

Instead, the pollster asks if the incumbent should be re-elected, or is it time to give a new person a chance to serve.

The naked re-elect, as it is called in the trade, shows the incumbents’ bare bones support – and those numbers usually are lower than if he or she were matched against a real opponent within or outside of their political party.

Jones polled 803 Utah registered voters from May 5-12. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percent.

Reyes, if not seen as a savior of the AG’s office, is at least respected by many Utahns, the survey shows.

And Utah’s first Hispanic attorney general certainly has had a challenge.

Reyes got into the AG Republican primary with John Swallow in 2012 – where after some anonymous negative campaigning in his favor, Swallow won the party nomination and went on to coast to victory that November.

But Swallow’s political life soon fell apart.

News reports about his campaign fundraising, perceived conflicts of interests and tactics overwhelmed him in 2013 – leading to several criminal investigations and a special investigation by the Utah House.

In December 2013 Swallow resigned, and later was charged with 12 felonies. His route to trial is slowly proceeding.

Meanwhile, GOP delegates picked Reyes to succeed Swallow. And Reyes won election to serve out the remaining two years of Swallow’s four-year term in November 2014.

Now Reyes is running for his own four-year term in 2016.

Democrats hoped to make the Swallow scandal (and that of his immediate predecessor, Republican Mark Shurtleff) a turning point in the 2014 AG election.

But it wasn’t, and Reyes won easily as a kind of reform candidate.

Jones’ new poll shows Reyes is in a good position as he starts his 2016 re-election effort:

— Among all Utahns, 53 percent say Reyes “definitely” or “probably” should be re-elected; only 27 percent say he shouldn’t; and 20 percent didn’t know.

That is rather a high “don’t know,” considering the Swallow/Reyes issues were well before the public for some time.

— Among those who told Jones they are Republicans, 62 percent said re-elect Reyes; 16 percent said don’t; and 19 percent didn’t know.

— Among Democrats, 40 percent said re-elect; 47 percent said elect someone new; and 14 percent didn’t know.

— Among political independents (who don’t belong to any political party), 41 percent said elect Reyes; 36 percent said elect someone new; and 23 percent didn’t know.

Utah is a Republican state – especially among federal and state officeholders.

With 40 percent of Democrats saying Reyes should be re-elected, and 41 percent of independents agreeing, it is clear Reyes has the support – with his 62 percent GOP naked re-elect – to get another term barring any major political scandal of his own.