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Richard Piatt ReportingIt's been a week of bad political news for the Bush administration, but so far the President's approval rating in Utah has held up, compared to the rest of the nation.
So far this week the United States recorded it's 2-thousandth casualty in the Iraq war, Harriet Miers withdrew from the Supreme Court bid, oil companies announced record profits after consumers paid more than ever at the pump, and the probe into the CIA leak still is not over for Presidential advisor Carl Rove.
Nationally, a number of recent, different polls register the President's approval rating at around 40 percent, down from an all-time high in the 80's after 9-11. In Utah the President's approval rating still hovers around 61 percent.
But it's not just about a popularity contest. Even in Utah disillusionment over Bush Administration policies might also carry over into next year's election. That's according to political pollster Dan Jones, who calls this the 'darkest week' of the administration.
At the same time, partisan battles are already beginning in the state over what's happening. Is there carry-over from the negative news into local races?
Spencer Jenkins, Utah Republican Party: "Could be. But I think people separate issues in Washington with what Utahns face directly."
Wayne Holland, Utah Democratic Party: "For one thing, Senator Hatch has to quit being the head cheerleader for everything good or bad that comes out of the white house. He's still on the field being the head cheerleader when the team's in the locker room."
Dan Jones, Political Pollster: "My guess is this could not only be a chance for the democrats to run for office, but a chance for people to get involved and work in campaigns for the minority party."
The other thing to consider is that people might become cynical and not vote next year. The Bush administration is now on the defensive like never before.