Poll shows Utahns satisfied with senators

Poll shows Utahns satisfied with senators

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new poll shows Utahns are satisfied with the state's two senators, but that doesn't mean they'll choose an incumbent next year.

The latest Dan Jones & Associates poll for KSL TV and the Deseret News shows Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, has a 58 percent approval rating. Another 31 percent disapproved of the job Bennett is doing, and 12 percent didn't know.

Yet, just 27 percent of those polled say he should be re-elected; 58 percent say it's time to elect someone else.

When pitted against contenders, Bennett still pulls in 31 percent of the vote. The poll shows 35 percent were unsure and the other 34 percent were split among six other candidates.

The Deseret News reports Bennett issued a statement in response to the poll, which said in part, "I am gratified that by a 2-to-1 margin the majority of Utahns approve of the work I am doing. I intend to keep working to represent Utah values and fight the president's initiatives that are in conflict with those values."

University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless says Bennett will be tested.

"There is a strong likelihood that he's going to be strongly challenged between the county convention and the state convention in May. That is his most difficult political obstacle," Chambless says.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, saw a greater approval rating at 65 percent; 29 percent disapproved and 6 percent were unsure. Hatch does not face possible re-election until 2012.

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