Poll suggests challenging re-election for Hatch
February 24th, 2011
12:17 PM ET
11 years ago

Poll suggests challenging re-election for Hatch

Washington (CNN) - A new poll suggests that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah could have a tough road ahead of him as he makes a bid next year for a seventh term in office.

A survey by UtahPolicy.com indicates that 31 percent of likely voters there want the state's senior senator to win re-election next year, with 54 percent saying they are ready for a new face, and 15 percent unsure.

According to the poll, Republican voters are split when it comes to a possible primary battle next year between Hatch and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, with each man grabbing 42 percent support and 15 percent undecided.

Last year conservatives and tea party groups targeted three-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett in the months leading up Utah's GOP convention. Bennett was defeated at the convention in his bid for his party's re-nomination. Conservatives Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater advanced to the party primary, with Lee winning the GOP nod and then the general election.

Hatch, who wants to avoid Bennett's fate, has a history of reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats - a fact that obviously does not sit well with many tea party activists and other conservatives. But Hatch has taken steps since last year to buffer himself from criticism from those on the right by highlighting his conservative chops. He recently led the Senate GOP push for a balanced budget amendment and was a co-sponsor of a Republican amendment to repeal the new health care law. Two weeks ago he also landed a perfect score in the American Conservative Union's 2010 ratings.

"At this point in time the numbers really don't mean anything," Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen told CNN.

Hansen told CNN the results are not surprising, considering the anti-incumbent and anti-Washington mood of the last election cycle, but added that "we feel very good about where we are. We have our plan in place to help assure Sen. Hatch's re-election next year."

Chaffetz, a 43 year-old congressman who was re-elected last November to a second term, recently told the Deseret News that a run for the Senate is "a definite maybe," and said he intends to make his decision before the autumn.

In response to the new poll, Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune that the only results that matter will be next year's GOP state convention, but added, "It is certainly flattering to be so seriously considered."

The UtahPolicy.com poll was conducted February 16-19 by Opinionology, with 600 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Orrin Hatch
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Spending our Way to Financial Collapse

    ANYBODY that has been in DC this long is going to have a tough time getting re-elected. They have presided over the bankrupting of this country and the creation of a government welfare state. Their whole approach was to kick the can down the road until the road ended at a cliff. Well, we're at that point and the Democrats are trying to convince people there is still road ahead of them and to not believe their eyes and take that one last step over the cliff.

    February 24, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Over 3,000 Americans were killed on 911 and here in Texas and authorities have arrested a Saudi man believed to be a terrorist targeting GWB, sound familiar. These Republicans will say and do anything to destroy President Obama to restore the Bush legacy of lies simply because under Obama we haven't gone to war to kill Mubarak because his people forced him out and the same could have happened to Saddam. The world is watching and it won't work this time.

    February 24, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. William Jefferson

    Replacing hatch with another republicon is like trading foot fungus for jock itch. Or more like trading botulism for salmonella.

    If Utah wants to rejoin the 21st century they will elect any Democrat who choses to run.

    February 24, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Jim

    Time to put that useless dinosaur out to pasture. Until the people of this nation quit electing these bozo's to endless terms nothing will happen for the working class. 6 terms to do the bidding of his corparate bosses is enough. What has he done in all those terms to benefit the working class? Why does the state of Utah need him for a 7th term? Time to elect new blood not Tea Party or GOPer's. Funny how Hatch has been courting the Tea Party when he knows his cheeks are on the line.

    February 24, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I may not agree with everything that the "tea partier" want or with what Hatch has said and done, but cooperation is part of the game. If people can't accept that, then they need to learn what they can do without. Neogiation is what gets things done in the House and Senate. If Hatch has done that, then I would like to see him renominated. We can't have people who are stuck at some point along the ideological spectrum.

    February 24, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Terry P

    Hopefully, Utah will term limit Hatch – he's been in the Senate way too long and has too many Dem tendencies.

    February 24, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "If Utah wants to rejoin the 21st century they will elect any Democrat who choses to run."

    You clearly did not get the memo: neither Utah nor many other traditionally "red" states want anything to do with the 21st century. It's big, scary, confusing and global and involves alot of brown peolpe who don't do precisely what they're told...not to mention a reality that is similarly recalcitrant...and the conservatives/GOPers/Teatards are having none of it.

    February 24, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Sue

    Anyone that even suggests that Utah will elect a Democrat for Hatch's seat is delusional. Utah is one of the most conservative leaning states in our country, and they are not going to elect any loony left Democrat. Utah citizens see what other loony left Democrats are doing to other states, and they will definitely not elect one for Utah.

    February 24, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |