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News roundup: 44% of voters say Santa is a Democrat

Voters believe in Santa. New Utahns help boost economy. Hatch: Mormons are Christians.

Happy Tuesday. Some fun numbers this morning out of Public Policy Polling, which asked Americans questions about Ol' Saint Nick two weeks before Christmas:

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-> 44 percent of respondents said Santa was a Democrat while 28 percent say he is a Republican;

-> 54 percent of those polled said they feared the looming "fiscal cliff" could cause Santa to cut back on presents;

-> 52 percent of voters say they believe in Santa, while 80 percent said they were on his "nice" list versus 11 percent who owned up to being on the "naughty" side of things.

Topping the news: More people moved into Utah in 2012 than moved out of it, a sign of an attractive -- and growing -- economy. [Trib]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch sets out to prove that Mormons are Christians. He also asks that people refer to his faith not as Mormon but as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [USNews]

-> Rep. Christine Watkins is leaving the Democratic Party after losing her re-election bid and jumping to the Republican side. [Trib]

-> A blind Utahn is appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Access board, a group responsible for contributing to policy about access to building, vehicles and information technology for the disabled. [Trib]

Tweets of the day: From @GarrettQuinn: "Karl Rove is still insisting GMail is not down in Ohio."

Happy birthday: To Carter Livingston and Bart Barker. And belated wishes to Maura Carabello, who celebrated her birthday on Dec. 8.

In other news: Sen. Hatch asks President Barack Obama to repeal the "death tax," saying it doesn't make sense in a "thriving economy." He blames the tax on the selling of family farms. [TheHill]

-> Bob Bernick says there are some surprises in the state Senate committee assignments. [UtahPolicy]

-> A distinct line is forming in politics in Salt Lake County, as this year's election shows. [UtahPolicy]

-> Sen. Mike Lee defends his vote against a U.N. treaty on disabled people in an op-ed. [USAToday]

-> With the demise of Yucca Mountain, the hunt is still on for a national nuclear dumping ground. [Trib]

-> Two hearings are set on SL County's proposed tax hike. [Trib]

-> Utah County is poised to get its first mosque. [Trib]

National news: The Republican National Committee launches a project to examine their 2012 successes and failures in an effort to develop more efficient campaign strategies. [Politico] Two of its members are conservatives who insisted the polls were skewed and Romney would win. [BuzzFeed]

-> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently loves the hair on retiring Sen. Ben Nelson's head. [Politico]

-> South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she will not simply appoint a "placeholder" for Sen. Jim DeMint's soon-to-be open seat. [NBCNews]

-> The Washington Post details five ways raising the eligibility age could affect Medicare: [WaPost].

-> Both President Obama and Romney make Mad Magazine's "Dumbest" list. [NYDailyNews]

Where are they?

  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert holds a series of budget discussions.
  • SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon sits down with KSL's Rich Piatt, heads to the Salt Lake County Council meeting and later attends the public hearing on the budget.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker attends new employee orientation.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends PTA holiday brunch, drops by the Sandy City open house and hits the City Council meeting.
  • President Barack Obama receives the daily briefing in the Oval Office and later meets with Vice President Joe Biden for a private lunch.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Betsy Blanchard

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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