Last year, Utah voters ousted incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett (R) — and now, a majority of them say it’s time for the state’s other Senator, Orrin Hatch (R), to go as well.
In a new Utah Policy poll, 54% of Utah voters said it was time to send someone else to Washington in Hatch’s place, while only 31% said Hatch should be reelected to the seat he has held for 34 years. The poll also had dire news for Hatch’s chances of surviving a primary challenge. In a hypothetical match-up with two-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Hatch only managed a tie at 42% apiece.Last year, tea party turnout defeated incumbent Sen. Bennett in the GOP primary. Hatch has made some moves lately that appear to be aimed at stemming off a revolt from the right and preventing the same fate from knocking him from office.
Earlier this month, Hatch dropped in on a Tea Party town hall meeting in Washington to tout his conservative credentials. But in an awkward moment, Tea Party Express president Amy Kremer told TPM that Hatch hadn’t been invited, but actually just crashed the event.
The poll’s results are the latest sign that Hatch will have a tough road back to reelection in 2012. A Utah Policy poll released last month showed Hatch trailing by about 20 points in a hypothetical primary against former Gov. Jon Huntsman.
The Utah Policy poll was conducted February 16-19 among 600 registered voters, including 348 Republicans. Both samples have a margin of error of 4.5%.