U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee continue to hold decent job approval ratings in their home state of Utah, a new UtahPolicy poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates finds.
Lee still leads Hatch in the ratings, as the freshman senator prepares for his first re-election this year.
The new survey shows that 65 percent of all Utahns like the job Lee is doing in the Senate, 26 percent disapprove of Lee and 9 percent don’t know.
Hatch, first elected in 1976, finds that 59 percent of Utahns approve of the job he’s doing, 36 percent disapprove and 5 percent don’t know.
The last six months have seen a rebound in Hatch’s job approval ratings; back in July he was under 50 percent approval – probably an all-time low for the senior senator.
Republicans are back in control of the U.S. Senate, and as the partisan stalemate continues in Washington, D.C., into President Barack Obama’s final year in office, Utahns are as displeased with Congress as ever.
Hatch serves as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
But Republicans in the House and Senate still struggle with a growing federal budget deficit.
Lee has achieved a political and personal turnaround in Utah.
A year ago several prominent Utahns were considering challenging Lee within the Republican Party. All decided not to.
Lee has moderated his speech and continues to gain strength among Utah Republicans – and is now more popular than Hatch.
Jones finds that 81 percent of Republicans approve of the job Lee is doing, 73 percent of Utah Republicans feel the same way about Hatch.
Ninety percent of those who say they are “very conservative approve of Lee; only 62 percent of “very conservatives” like Hatch.
That 30-point spread is indicative of Hatch’s standing with the right-wing of his own party, which seems to have battle fatigue with Hatch’s long service – 39 years and growing.
Jones finds Lee more polarizing across the board than Hatch:
88 percent of those who say they support Tea Party ideals approve of Lee.
Only half of Utah Tea Partiers like Hatch.
While 35 percent of Utah Democrats like Hatch, only 25 percent Lee.
61 percent of political independents like the job Lee is doing, 52 percent like Hatch.
Both men are Mormons. Jones finds that 78 percent of “very active” Mormons approve of the job Lee is dong, 69 percent of Mormons like Hatch.
Jones polled 845 adults between Jan. 3-13; the margin of error plus or minus 3.37 percent.