Poll: Chaffetz Leads Hatch In Potential Senate Primary Challenge

A new survey of Utah from Public Policy Polling (D) shows longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch vulnerable for the Republican nomination, trailing his potential opponent Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

The numbers: Chaffetz 47%, Hatch 43%. The survey of Republican primary voters was conducted from July 8-10, and has a ±4.9% margin of error.

Chaffetz, who was first elected to Congress in 2008 by defeating an incumbent in the GOP primary, has been considering a challenge against Hatch. The poll gives Chaffetz a favorable rating of 61%, to 17% unfavorable. Hatch’s approval rating is actually a very similar 60%, to a disapproval of 28%.However, the poll also asked: “Generally speaking, would you like the Republican nominee for Senate next year to be Orrin Hatch or someone more conservative than him?” The result was Hatch 45%, someone more conservative 44%.

In 2010, Hatch’s then co-Senator Bob Bennett lost his renomination at the state GOP convention — failing to even make it to a primary — when he was unable to gain the support of at least 40% of convention delegates.

Given the rules used for party nominations in Utah, any of four outcomes are possible: Hatch could win outright at the convention; or Chaffetz could win at the convention; or a primary could be forced if nobody gets over 60% delegate support, sending them to a primary where either could win.