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How Utahns rate Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee and Gary Herbert

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, while Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, right, speaks to reporters in Washington on Saturday, May 21, 2019, in this composite image.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, while Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, right, speaks to reporters in Washington on Saturday, May 21, 2019, in this composite image.
Susan Walsh, left, and Patrick Semansky, right, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump stands accused of abusing his power. Sen. Mitt Romney walks a political tightrope in Washington. Gov. Gary Herbert leads a booming state with all-time low unemployment.

Yet, Utahns rate their job performances about the same.

A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows 55% of voters approve of how Herbert is doing his job, while Trump got a 53% approval rating and Romney 52%.

While those numbers aren’t ringing endorsements, they’re higher than the 48% approval rating residents gave Sen. Mike Lee. He also had the highest percentage of those who aren’t sure how to rate him.

“It appears to be a balancing act among voters who are generally OK with the way things are going,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen.

Rasmussen surveyed 1,017 Utah registered voters Jan. 15-22. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

While their approval ratings might be in the same ballpark, there’s a big difference in the disapproval numbers, which helps bring the sentiments of Utah voters more into focus. High disapproval ratings are a bad sign for any politician.

Herbert, who isn’t seeking reelection, had the lowest percentage of people, 29%, who disapprove of his performance, while Trump had the highest at 44%, including a third who strongly disapprove. Romney had 39% who disapprove, while Lee had 30%.

Trump’s net approval rating is only plus 9, while Herbert’s is plus 26. Lee and Romney are plus 18 and plus 14, respectively.

No one is thrilled with what’s going on in Washington, and as a result the favorability of every elected official has taken a hit, said Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

“It’s all about who your supporters are, and there have been no clear winners,” he said.

Because the poll was done before the Senate impeachment trial, Rasmussen said it wasn’t a factor in Utahns’ assessment of Romney and Lee, both of whom have played prominent roles in the proceedings.

Herbert, who isn’t seeking reelection after more than a decade in office, has led the state during unprecedented economic growth, but might be suffering from public revolt over the now repealed tax reform package.

Still, Rasmussen points out that all four of them attract majority approval from a different mix of voters.

Republicans in the poll clearly like Trump, with 76% approving of his job performance, including 45% strongly approving. Opinions of Trump either way are stronger than for the others in the poll, which Rasmussen said is fairly normal.

Lee at 64% also does well with GOP voters, as does Herbert with 67%. Romney has a 57% approval rating among Republicans, only slightly higher than his overall rating.

“I think the partisan breakdown reflects general perceptions of the Romney and Lee relationship with the president.” Rasmussen said.

Romney does better with Democrats with 46% approving the job he is doing, compared to 24% for Lee, which is to be expected given Lee is one of the most conservative members of the Senate.

Rasmussen said Lee is not as reflexively supportive of Trump as some Republicans might like, but enough to irritate Democrats.

Correction: A previous version of the graphic incorrectly stated 16% are not sure of how Mitt Romney is performing his job. The correct figure is 10%.