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Obama outranks Utah Sen. Bob Bennett in polls in Utah? Well, kind of

May 3, 2010 | 12:21 pm

Just like in the movie "Office Space," Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is having a case of the Mondays.

No, nobody moved his office to the basement of the Dirksen Building or hid his Swingline stapler, but his polls are pretty gloomy. How bad?

Well, when the Democratic president of the United States polls better than the three-term Republican junior senator from Utah in Utah, something's up.

Now, to be fair, this is only one part of a new Deseret News/KSL poll. Obama outranks Bennett in the "very favorable" category with 19% of Utahns having a very favorable impression of the president while 18% have that opinion of Bennett.

Bennett scores better than Obama in the "favorable" category with 50% of Utahns having that view of the senator while 32% sharing that opinion of Obama.

That 50%, though, is nothing to brag about though. "It's probably not a good omen for Bennett to go into the state Republican convention this weekend with more Utahns giving Obama a 'very favorable' rating than they do for Bennett," writes Deseret News political reporter Lee Davidson.

Davidson reports that Bennett has a plan to boost his poor ratings. He's lined up Mitt Romney to introduce him at the state convention. Pardon the expression, but Romney is a god in Utah (note the lowercase 'g').

The poll showed that 79% of Utahns have a favorable impression of Romney. And 93% of Republicans voted for him in the 2008 presidential primary. 

Is that enough to get him past his seven challengers at the convention?

"I don't know that it can. But, boy, Bob Bennett needs it," said Dan Jones, the conductor of the poll. "He's taken a lot of hits. It's the Republicans who are mad at him."

Another poll, however, points the finger at convention-goers rather than the rank-and-file Republicans.

The Salt Lake Tribune finds 39% of Republican voters want Bennett to serve a fourth term while 16% of delegates to the state convention want Bennett reelected.

Just how influential are the delegates? Very. Utah has a unique nominating system. The Associated Press explains:

Bennett will be eliminated if he fails to win at least 40 percent of the 3,500 delegate votes at the state GOP's convention. A statewide June 22 primary featuring the top two candidates would be needed if no single candidate ends up with 60 percent of the vote.

If Romney doesn't put him over the top, perhaps Bennett could ask Michael Bolton to assist.

-- Jimmy Orr

Image: Utah Sen. Bob Bennett. Credit: Associated Press

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