Poll: Longtime GOP senator holds large lead over primary challenger
June 25th, 2012
09:41 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Longtime GOP senator holds large lead over primary challenger

(CNN) - One day before Utah's GOP Senate primary, a new poll indicates that longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch holds a nearly two-to-one lead over his primary challenger, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

According to a Deseret News/KSL survey, 60% of registered voters in Utah who say they'll vote in the GOP primary back Hatch's bid for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate, with 32% supporting Liljenquist and 7% unsure.

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This is Hatch's first primary challenge since winning the Senate seat 36 years ago. Liljenquist forced the primary by coming in second at the state party convention in April, keeping Hatch just under the 60% he needed to avoid a primary showdown. The senator announced earlier this year that if he's re-elected in November, he won't run again for his seat in 2018.

Hatch has a history of reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats, which obviously does not sit well with many tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives. But Hatch has taken steps since the 2010 midterm elections to fight that criticism by highlighting his conservative chops, like leading the Senate GOP push for a balanced budget amendment and co-sponsoring a Republican amendment to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.

Two years ago, tea party activists and fiscal conservatives were instrumental in helping oust longtime Utah Sen. Bob Bennett at the state party convention. Bennett finished third and the top two candidates faced off in a primary. In the June primary, tea party-backed Mike Lee won the nomination over his opponent, Tim Bridgewater, and ultimately took the seat in the November general election.

Liljenquist has won the backing and support of many tea party supporters and other fiscal conservative groups, and recently received the endorsed of former Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, endorsed Hatch, as has presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The Deseret News/KSL poll, released late Sunday, was conducted between June 15 and June 21 by Dan Jones and Associates, with 737 likely Utah GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Orrin Hatch • Polls • Senate • Utah
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Michael B.

    The problem with people who are so determined by their party is that they do not want to compromise on ANYTHING to make America better and would rather do nothing to fix our problems. I would rather have a compromising conservative than a tea party republican who doesn't do anything. Same goes for the democrats. Work with the other side, otherwise we are all doomed.

    June 25, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Hap

    He's touting his record of undoing progress to please the tea people. The repubs are a joke anymore, they really have no clue what america needs, rather only what their masters tell them we need. Open your eye's middle class repubs, there's no place for you in the party, only your vote. Unless of course you believe in a two class society, then by all means vote for the robber barrons and work until you die. We need a two term democrat every eight years or so to pull us out of a low taxes, trickle down economy driven recession, or haven't you been paying attention.

    June 25, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. drod

    Yet another sign the Tea Potty is becoming less and less relevent and that Republicans are abandoning the radical right experiment of no compromise philosophy for the good of the country.

    June 25, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |