To defeat Democratic Rep. Bill Orton in the next election, the Republican Party will need to present a candidate attractive to the public, who understands syntax and good grammar and who has the ability to raise $400,000 to $500,000 to wage a campaign.
That's according to David Magleby, the Brigham Young University political science professor who spoke to the Women in Leadership group Tuesday.Magleby presented information based on the results of the exit poll taken at 90 different stations around the state by 480 college students from seven different institutions.
Magleby said the Republicans scored a "knockout punch" over the Democrats in the midterm election largely because President and Hillary Clinton are so unpopular.
"It is clear from the data," said Magleby.
He shared a ranking list of politicians - gleaned from voter information - that put Gov. Mike Leavitt, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Orton at the top, talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and politician Merrill Cook tied in the middle and the Clintons "dead last" in public favor.
Hillary Clinton has pushed outside the zone of "safe politics," said Magleby, and suffers, as well, because of her husband's perceived lack of character.
Clinton, however, who finished third in the polls in Utah the year he was elected, has moved up as a 1996 possibility above Ross Perot and behind Sen. Bob Dole.
Magleby said the polls showed people would have voted for Cook over Democrat Karen Shepherd, but with Shepherd out of the race, it would have been a tossup between Enid Waldholtz and Cook.
Voters in Utah are strongly conservative and Republican, he said, except when a candidate can persuade them to abandon their party affiliations - as in the case of Orton.
"Orton leads a charmed life," said Magleby. "He even gets one of the four Republicans who thinks it's a sin to vote Democratic to vote for him!"
Magleby said the dramatic Republican sweep of victories will encourage more people to run for office and should make for a "most interesting next two years."
However, he said recruitment for Republican candidates must start early and focus on someone with the means to personally fund a campaign, as Waldholtz did.