New poll shows Mitt Romney has the approval of a majority of Utah voters, but could still be vulnerable in a Republican primary
Romney is much more popular among voters who describe themselves as ‘very liberal’ than ‘very conservative’ voters
A majority of Utah voters approve of Sen. Mitt Romney’s performance, with 52% saying they approve compared to 44% who say they disapprove. And among voters who describe themselves as conservative, 55% say they approve of Romney’s performance.
But as Romney weighs whether to run for a second term in the U.S. Senate, the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows Romney continues to struggle with the most conservative members in his own party, which could make him vulnerable in the Republican primary.
Utah Republicans, for example, are less likely to approve of the job Romney is doing than Democrats, with 47% of Republicans saying they approve or strongly approve of his performance compared to 73% of Democrats. And only 23% of voters who consider themselves very conservative approve of Romney’s performance compared with 60% of very liberal Utah voters. Majorities of moderate voters, at 69%, and somewhat liberal voters, at 65%, also approved of Romney’s performance.
One prominent Republican has already declared an interest in Romney’s seat. Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he has formed an exploratory committee as he eyes making a run for the Senate in 2024.
There are rumors that other Republicans are considering a run, including Rep. Chris Stewart, who represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who recently said he’s moving his permanent residence to Utah.
But in February, Romney told reporters at the Utah state Capitol he’s focused on getting things done in Washington and will make a decision on whether to run in the spring or summer.
“I’m confident that I would win if I decide to run,” he said. “I’ll have the resources, and I believe the people of Utah would be with me.”
When he first ran for office in 2018, Romney faced a more conservative challenger in the state Republican primary, and he won that election with over 70% of the vote.
Recently, Romney filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that will allow him to begin raising and spending money on a reelection campaign. The statement of candidacy names Romney’s chief fundraising committee as Romney for Utah.
Dan Jones & Associates conducted the poll of 801 registered Utah voters March 14-22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.