New poll says Hatch on edge of 60% of delegate votes
Another poll says Sen. Orrin Hatch is on the edge of the 60 percent of delegate votes that he needs to win the GOP nomination outright at next week's state Republican convention, and avoid a primary election.
Hatch's campaign released a poll of delegates on Thursday that said 61 percent support Hatch; 22 percent favor former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist; 5 percent favor state Rep. Chris Herrod; and 11 percent are undecided. It has a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.
It was conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Dan Jones and Associates, and interviewed 487 delegates. The convention has 4,000 delegates.
Earlier, the Hatch campaign released results of another poll, conducted March 27-29, of 335 delegates, which said that Hatch had 62 percent of delegate support.
Between those two Hatch polls, the Strong Utah PAC Â a "super PAC" that supports Hatch Â released a poll saying the senator had only 50.5 percent support. That poll was conducted April 2-3.
Also, FreedomWorks a group opposing Hatch has said it has been polling, but would not release numbers. However, it said that it and ally groups have found polling numbers are varying over time, suggesting that support for candidates is "soft" and many delegates are still undecided.
However, Dave Hansen, Hatch's campaign manager, said the two polls by Hatch's campaign "show that the support for Senator Hatch is holding steady amongst the state delegates."
He added, "With only nine days until the state convention, we are feeling confident about where the senator stands." Hatch has taken four weeks off from work in Washington, D.C., to remain in Utah and campaign personally with state delegates.
If a candidate achieves 60 percent support of delegates at the April 21 state convention, he wins the party nomination and advances directly to the final election; otherwise the top two vote getters will face off in a June 26 primary election.
A total of 10 Republicans are in the Senate race, plus three Democrats.