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If voting was today, Gov. Huntsman would win 73 percent re-election nod
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Democrat Bob Springmeyer knew he was facing a steep climb when he filed to run for governor. A new Salt Lake Tribune poll shows just how tough those odds really are.

Seventy-three percent of Utahns surveyed say that, if the election were held today, they would vote to re-elect Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., compared to 9 percent who back Springmeyer.

And while the election is still 11 weeks away, 62 percent of voters say they don't know who Springmeyer is.

Springmeyer isn't discouraged he is facing that deficit, but he said once his campaign starts doing major public events in the weeks leading up to the convention, people will learn who he is and be convinced to support him.

"That doesn't surprise me and it doesn't disappoint me," Springmeyer said.

That's because right now, he has been doing retail politics, shaking hands and meeting people one by one. This week, for example, he'll be at the Sanpete County Fair and parade.

"That's a lot of fun and it's a good way to get out and shake some hands and meet some people . . . but there's no way in a statewide race you can get out and meet enough people," he said. "When our campaign goes public and starts doing some media things I think there are going to be some big changes."

The poll found that 98 percent of Utahns recognize Huntsman's name and that 73 percent had a favorable opinion of the governor, who is seeking his second, and he says final, term in office.

Huntsman leads Springmeyer across every demographic, including self-described Democrats, who favor Huntsman 39 percent to 29 percent. The governor fares slightly better with men than women and has the backing of 81 percent of the state's Mormon voters.

A spokeswoman for Huntsman said he is taking nothing for granted.

"He'll run an aggressive campaign," said Lisa Roskelley.

But she said the governor mainly is just paying attention to his job.

"Gov. Huntsman is focused on governing and he's been able to accomplish a lot of really great things through his time," including tax reform and increased education spending, she said. "At the end of the day he's focused on just making sure he's providing the best service to Utahns that he can."

If the numbers don't change dramatically, Huntsman could be re-elected by a landslide comparable to Gov. Mike Leavitt's 75-23 percent trouncing of Democrat Jim Bradley in 1996.

Huntsman was elected in 2004, receiving 57 percent of the vote to beat Democrat Scott Matheson Jr.

The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon research from Aug. 13-15. It has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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