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Poll: Romney crushes Huntsman in Utah

Published August 14, 2011 8:41 pm

Politics • The contest for presidential support in Utah is no contest.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Andrea Cook still recalls how Mitt Romney turned the scandal-rocked Salt Lake City Winter Olympics into a successful venture, a move that helped cement her support for Romney's now-presidential bid.

"There's a trustworthiness and there's a sense of integrity about him," says Cook, a stay-at-home mom from Provo. "Generally I never trust politicians ... so the fact that I feel that I can trust Mitt Romney is pretty important for me."

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is a good candidate, too, she adds, but Romney has the qualities she wants in the White House.

Cook appears to share that feeling with a huge majority of Utah Republicans.

Romney has the support of 71 percent of Utahns who identify themselves as Republicans compared to 13 percent for Huntsman, according to a new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Romney, who nabbed an unprecedented 90 percent of the Utah GOP presidential primary in Utah in 2008, still finds tremendous support in the state as he mounts his second White House bid.

Meanwhile, the poll found that among all Utah voters, President Barack Obama is given an unsatisfactory job rating by 71 percent of those sampled. Just 24 percent approved of Obama's performance and 5 percent didn't answer. That is down from 38 percent approval rating in a November 2009 Tribune poll. At that time 60 percent said he had done a poor or only fair job.

Regarding the Republican support for Romney in the Utah, state Sen. Curt Bramble, a Provo Republican and Romney supporter, chalks up the Utah fan base to the hope voters have that Romney could bring America back from an economic morass.

"If he can do that for the Olympics, maybe he can do that for the United States," Bramble says.

But state Rep. Greg Hughes, a Huntsman supporter, says it's more a reflection of Romney's second bid and his position as the front-runner that is making Utahns excited. Hughes adds that when Huntsman starts gathering steam, the numbers will change.

"Conventional wisdom in politics is an amazing thing, and it can change very quickly," Hughes says.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul snagged 4 percent in the Tribune survey, and newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry garnered 3 percent. Some 4 percent of poll participants were undecided.

Aides to Romney and Huntsman declined to comment on the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.

tburr@sltrib.com