Most Utahns approve of the job Attorney General Jan Graham is doing, the latest Deseret News/ KSL poll shows.
However, a third of those polled by Dan Jones & Associates don't have an opinion of how Graham is doing her job, and Republican Party leaders vow to change that during Graham's re-election effort next year.Graham is the only Democrat holding statewide office.
While some disgruntled Republican lawmakers toy with the idea of having an appointed, not elected, attorney general, Jones found little support for that idea.
Seventy-eight percent oppose changing the current system of electing the top law enforcement officer in the state. Only 16 percent want the governor appointing the attorney general.
Jones found that 53 percent of those polled strongly or somewhat approve of the job Graham is doing, only 14 percent strongly or somewhat disapprove and 33 percent didn't know.
The 53 percent rating is OK, notgreat. By comparison, GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt's approval rating hovers near 80 percent. The 14 percent disapproval rate on Graham is good - it's always better to have low negative ratings.
But whether Graham can hold her negative ratings low during the 1996 election is another matter, as Republicans have already started severely criticizing her work.
They especially don't like Graham's handling of the state's drawn-out, complicated defense of the 1991 anti-abortion law. Graham was singled out again this week for criticism in a House GOP caucus after the state lost on all points in a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling two weeks ago.
A number of House GOP members demanded of Leavitt that further abortion appeals by handled by outside legal counsel, not Graham. Leavitt in a press conference Thursday refused to discuss who will represent the state should there be further appeals. (See accompanying story.)
Jones found that 44 percent of Republicans approve of the job Graham is doing, only 19 percent of her opposing party members don't like her job performance. Not surprisingly, Democrats love Graham - 72 percent approve of the job she's doing.
Among political independents - critical to a Democrat seeking statewide office in GOP-dominated Utah - Graham gets a 58 percent approval rating. Only 6 percent of independent voters don't like the job Graham is doing.
Deseret News/KSL poll
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jan Graham is handling the job of state attorney general?
Strongly Approve 18%
Somewhat Approve 35%
Somewhat Disapprove 9%
Strongly Disapprove 5%
Don't Know 33%
Some legislators have talked about amending the Utah Constitution to make the position of attorney general an appointed position rather than an elected position. Would you favor or oppose changing the Constitution to make the attorney general a job appointed by the governor?
Strongly Favor 7%
Somewhat Favor 9%
Somewhat Oppose 21%
Strongly Oppose 57%
Don't Know 7%
Poll conducted Aug. 13, 1995. Margin of error + or - 4% on interviews of 606 adults statewide. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1995 Deseret News.