No surprise! A new survey shows Mitt Romney is a heavy favorite to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch in Washington.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds when Utahns are asked to choose which of the declared and possible U.S. Senate candidates they would vote for, Romney pulls in 60% support. His closest rival, Democrat Jenny Wilson, is way behind at just 14%. That's more than a 4-1 advantage.
The rest of the field is way behind at this point.
- Potential GOP challenger Dan McCay only pulls 2%. McCay, a State Representative, has hinted he may run against Romney this year.
- Democrat Mitchell Vice is at 1%.
- Republicans Larry Meyers, Alicia Colvin, and Jay Hyatt all pull 1% in the survey. Fellow Republicans L'Capi Titus and Timothy Jimenez saw 0% support.
- Libertarian candidate Craig Bowden is at 3%.
- 14% of Utahns said they were undecided, while 2% picked some other candidate.
State Auditor John Dougall has hinted he may run against Romney. However, we were unable to include him in this poll.
A deep dive into the numbers shows that Romney's support in Utah is broad and deep.
- 59% of men and 61% of women say they would vote for Romney.
- 75% of Republicans, 32% of Democrats, and 59% of unaffiliated voters said they prefer Romney over all of the other candidates.
Romney is taking both available paths to get to the GOP primary ballot: gathering signatures and the caucus/convention route. It's possible that Romney could be sent to a primary by Republican delegates, who tend to be more conservative than GOP primary voters, but these numbers suggest he would sprint to an easy win. The other Republicans on the list could only muster paltry support. Dan McCay and Larry Meyers did the best among Republicans, getting around 2% support each.
Utahns of all ages prefer Romney over the rest of the field.
- 59% of 18-24-year-olds prefer Romney. 23% are undecided.
- Romney gets 49% support from 25-34-year-olds. Democrat Jenny Wilson gets 20% of the vote from this group. Surprisingly, Libertarian Craig Bowden is at 9% here.
Romney gets at least 55% support from each of the other age groups in our survey, including 68% from those between 35-44.
Some of Romney's fiercest critics have tried to paint him as moderate who does not fit Utah's conservative reputation. However, Romney gets solid support from the political right and center.
- 65% of self-described "very conservative" voters prefer Romney. Dan McCay gets 4% here.
- "Somewhat conservative" Utahns overwhelmingly say Romney is their man. 74% said they support him over the others.
- 64% of moderates said they would vote for Romney.
- Romney and Wilson are virtually tied for support among those who say they are "somewhat liberal." Romney gets 40% in this group, while Wilson gets 39%.
- Only Utahns on the far left don't like Romney. Self-described "very liberal" voters give 63% support to Democrat Jenny Wilson, while Romney only pulls 12% here.
The numbers may be daunting, but Wilson says she's not cowed by what appears to be a difficult electoral road for her.
"I’ve climbed several peaks in the Grand Tetons and know it takes courage to look up at a big tall challenge," said Wilson in an email to UtahPolicy.com. "I jumped into this race months ago because I love Utah and believe the people in my state are better served by someone who will champion their interests."
The Romney campaign opted not to comment for this story.
President Donald Trump offered his endorsement of Romney on Twitter Monday night. Romney quickly thanked the president for his support. Axios reported on Tuesday that Romney did not seek the endorsement from Trump.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted Feb. 9-16, 2018 among 609 registered voters. It has a margin of error +/- 4%.