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Poll: Most Utahns approve of job Obama is doing


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A majority of Utahns approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing. That's according to an exclusive Dan Jones poll for KSL-TV and the Deseret News.

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The poll shows Obama's numbers here lag far behind his popularity nationwide, but they represent a high watermark for recent Democrats. Pollster Dan Jones says the previous Democratic president, Bill Clinton, never got his approval rating out of the 40s in Utah.

For Obama, it's so far so good. One hundred days in, and Utahns seem to be giving him the benefit of the doubt.

"He's doing the best he can. He's got some good points. If he can just carry them out, he'll be doing great," said South Salt Lake resident Ben Ely.

Layton resident Athena Vandermeyden told us, "He's made some good decisions, but he's also made some bad decisions which may affect us economically for the future. But with what we've been given, I think he's done pretty good."

"It seems like he's making a good impression with the people at large," said Salt Lake resident Bill Stanley.

A Dan Jones poll shows that 53 percent of Utahns approve of the job Obama is doing, while 43 percent disapprove.

"This pendulum is starting to swing. I think the president speeds up the process because of his popularity and winning three of the four battleground states around Utah, doing so well in Utah, winning three of four counties," said Wayne Holland, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party.

But Republicans say it's early for the Democrats to be launching champagne corks. "I think the numbers show they like him personally, more than they like his policies. And as time wears on, I expect those gaps to continue to widen," said Todd Weiler, vice chair of the Utah Republican Party.

Obama's highest marks from Utahns come in the are of foreign policy: 61 percent approve of his new approach.

Meanwhile, the president's economic policies drew thousands of protesters this month, and 35 percent of Republicans in Utah strongly disapprove of Obama's job performance.

When Utahns were asked about Obama "fighting economic problems with new federal stimulus spending and tax cuts," 43 percent approved and 55 percent disapproved.

As for Utah's decision to accept some of that stimulus money, 66 percent of Utahns polled think it's a good idea.

Our poll also finds 18 percent of Utahns say they're doing worse than a year ago; 8 percent say better and 65 percent say the same.

According to Dan Jones, you'd need to go back to the 1960s and President Lyndon B. Johnson to find a Democratic president with numbers this high in Utah.

The poll of 254 Utahns has a margin of error of 6 percent.

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Story compiled with contributions from John Daley and Whit Johnson.

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