Utah Republican delegates give mostly high marks to the state’s top elected officials according to a new survey. That’s not surprising as they’re the ones who put all of them in office.
Sen. Mike Lee gets an 86% approval rating from the delegates. That includes 65% who have a “very favorable” view of Lee.
Lee is the highest-rated elected official polled by Dan Jones & Associates for Utah Policy, with a mean score of 1.52. The mean score is kinda like golf – the lower the score, the higher the rating, with anything lower than 2 indicating positive approval. “Very favorable” is given a numeric value of 1, “somewhat favorable” is a 2 and so on. Those numbers are averaged to find the mean.
Lee also enjoys a stunning +73 net approval from delegates.
It was generally thought that Lee might face a challenge for re-election in 2016 from a more moderate Republican like Josh Romney or former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright. That challenge never materialized. These numbers suggest any rival to Lee would have to take the new signature-gathering route to get on the primary ballot because delegates love the job he’s doing in Washington.
The rest of Utah’s Congressional delegation also scores quite high in our survey:
Rep. Rob Bishop has a 78% approval rating with a mean score of 1.56. His net approval sits at +65 among delegates.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz enjoys a 76% approval rating from delegates with a mean score of 1.76. His net approval is +67.
Rep. Chris Stewart has an 83% approval rating and a mean score of 1.66. His net approval among delegates is +69.
Rep. Mia Love ties Sen. Lee with the highest overall approval rating at 86%. However, her mean score is lower than his (but still quite high) at 1.62. She also enjoys a +75 net approval with delegates.
Gov. Gary Herbert also ranks very highly among GOP delegates, but Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox is a bit further down the scale according to the survey.
Herbert has a 76% approval rating, which includes 45% who say they have a “very favorable” view of the governor. His net approval is +54 with a mean score of 1.85.
Herbert is facing a challenge in 2016 for the GOP nomination from Overstock.com CEO Jonathan Johnson. Johnson has decided to place his electoral future entirely in the hands of delegates by attempting to get on the primary ballot through the existing caucus and convention system. Herbert says he will use both of the routes available under SB54, signature gathering, and the caucus system.
While these polling numbers are hardly predictive of what may happen in 2016, it’s relatively safe to say Herbert’s candidacy at the convention would not be unwelcome, despite his decision to gather signatures as well.
Lt. Governor Cox, on the other hand, has just a 53% approval rating. It’s probably not as high as it could be because 37% of delegates either said they had never heard of him or had no opinion. Still, despite that, Cox has a +46 net approval rating.
Cox has been the face of the Utah elections office during the ongoing legal row over SB54, which delegates are not fond of. Recently, Cox issued a memorandum to candidates saying they would not be kept off the ballot if they pursued the signature-gathering route to secure a place on a primary ballot. That high-profile position hasn’t hurt him among delegates, as only 7% have an unfavorable view of him.
On a more macro level, Utah GOP delegates approve of the job performance of Utah lawmakers, but absolutely despise what’s going on in Congress.
The Utah Legislature gets a 77% approval rating from the delegates we polled. However, that support seems a bit soft as 62% view them “somewhat” favorably while just 14% see their performance as “very favorable.”
When it comes to Congress as a whole, that’s another story. Lawmakers in Washington have a dismal 22% approval rating while 76% view them unfavorably for a terrible net approval of minus 54.
The survey from Dan Jones & Associates was conducted January 13-16, 2016 among 605 Utah Republican delegates. The margin of error is +/- 3.67%