Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 2011 Dan Jones Poll Shows Mitt Romney Leading Jon Huntsman Jr. And Walloping Sarah Palin And Mike Huckabee In Utah

Update: The Deseret News has now added a fourth graphic showing the results of a Romney-Huntsman-Palin matchup.

Dan Jones took the political pulse of 496 Utahns from February 8-10 to determine their Republican Presidential preferences, and Mitt Romney is still "King of Utah", more than doubling up Jon Huntsman Jr. while crushing Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. The Deseret News and CNN have the story, and the poll results are presented in three four separate PDF files.

-- Mitt Romney: 56 percent
-- Jon Huntsman Jr: 26 percent

-- Mitt Romney: 77 percent
-- Sarah Palin: 9 percent

-- Mitt Romney: 54 percent
-- Jon Huntsman Jr: 26 percent
-- Sarah Palin: 7 percent

-- Mitt Romney: 55 percent
-- Jon Huntsman Jr: 26 percent
-- Mike Huckabee: 4 percent

Some pundits think this portends trouble for a Huntsman campaign even before it is launched. Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, said it could be a damaging poll for Huntsman, at least in the short term. Matthew Wilson, a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, noted that if Huntsman can't compete with Romney even in Utah, it's hard to see where Huntsman could surpass him. But Huntsman's poor showing could also be attributable to some of his previous controversial stands, to include supporting civil unions, a route to citizenship for illegal immigrants and climate change initiatives — all of which go against the conservative grain of many Utahns. In contrast, Sen. John Valentine (R-Orem) says it's too soon to write off Huntsman.

In January, a Utah Policy poll of 504 Utahns indicated that Jon Huntsman might have more success going for Orrin Hatch's Senate seat:

-- Jon Huntsman Jr: 48 percent
-- Jason Chaffetz: 23 percent
-- Orrin Hatch: 21 percent

The poor performance by Mike Huckabee is no surprise. Although Huckabee has long since apologized for remarks perceived to be anti-Mormon during the 2008 campaign, he's got no chance in Utah against a Mormon candidate. What's more surprising is Sarah Palin's abysmal showing -- she's the most conservative candidate of the lot, and she can't even achieve double digits in the reddest state in the union. Palin has never made any anti-Mormon remarks, and during her "Going Rogue" book tour stop in Salt Lake on December 9th, 2009, she attracted 1,000 enthusiastic supporters despite single-digit temperatures.

It could be that although many Utahns admire Sarah Palin personally, and agree strongly with her politics, they just don't see her as a "presidential" personality. Being intelligent, articulate, and enthusiastic does not necessarily equivocate to being "presidential". Mitt Romney is distinctly presidential, and Jon Huntsman is somewhat presidential, but Huckabee is definitely not presidential, and it appears neither is Palin. A series of Rasmussen Polls taken in January indicates that Romney is the only Republican who could beat Barack Obama, while Obama would beat Palin 49-38 percent. Nevertheless, the ever-faithful Conservatives4Palin still thinks she's presidential, and published a list of 47 reasons why they think Palin is qualified to be President.

But Palin would make a dynamic running mate for Mitt Romney.


Anonymous said...

I think your analysis is off of the poll.

It's actually bad news for Romney if he can only get 77% against a non-Mormon like Palin. He won 90% of the vote in Utah in the 2008 primary. Nobody else broke 5% in that primary, so Palin is already doubling McCain's percentage of 5%.

So Mitt is the one who is bleeding support even in his Mormon base of Utah. He's -13% from 2008. Palin is the one who has expanded on what other people received.

It's tough to come close in Utah when you aren't a Mormon. I hope you don't take that as a slam because it's not intended to be but the results in Utah are not representative of how Republicans vote elsewhere (see CNN: Huckabee 21, Palin 19, Romney 18, ABC: Huckabee 21, Palin 19, Romney 17). Romney found that out in 2008 and he's even performing worse in Utah this go around.

Deseret Dawg said...

Not taken as a slam at all. Your suggestion that Romney might be bleeding some support is not without merit.

But bear in mind that when Romney earned 90 percent in 2008, that was during the actual Republican primary caucus, where there were very few Undecideds. This preliminary poll has a considerable number of Undecideds.

The fact that Romney and Huntsman dominated this poll does show the strength of the Mormon factor. But considering the immense publicity reaped by Palin, one would logically expect her to have more than 9 percent at this point.

Anonymous said...

We'll agree to disagree.

I just think you are underestimating how difficult it is for a non-Mormon to break 10% in a Utah GOP primary against a Mormon.

Let's put it this way. If Palin wins 12-13% in Utah in the 2012 primary on Super Tuesday, that will likely mean that she has defeated Romney nearly everywhere else in the country.

I compare her percentage to McCain's percentage and she's already running ahead of him and even runs ahead of him when you include another Mormon in the race in Jon Huntsman.

My argument is essentially three-fold:

1) Romney will need to hold onto all of his 2008 support to have a chance and this poll suggests that he's having difficulty doing that even in Utah.

2) Palin is already doing about as well as a non-Mormon can do in a Utah GOP primary against a Mormon.

3) If she's at 9% in Utah, that means she probably leads Romney nationally by the same percentage McCain led Romney by in 2008 given that McCain was able to win a smaller percentage against Romney in Utah (if we assume that the trends in Utah are duplicated elsewhere across the country).

In other words, Romney should be at around 90% in this poll if he was really holding onto his 2008 support.