Barack Obama is not going to win Utah next year. His approval rating is 32% with 62% of voters disapproving of him. But now that we have that out of the way there was actually some pretty interesting stuff in our Utah President poll:
-Even though our numbers yesterday showed Mitt Romney would destroy Jon Huntsman in a Republican primary in the state, Huntsman is actually much stronger when tested against Obama in the state. He leads Obama by 40 points at 63-23, compared to a 32 point advantage for Romney against Obama at 63-31. The reason Huntsman does so much better in the general is that he is beloved by Democrats (69/25 favorability) and independents (61/29). He gets 28% of the Democratic vote against Obama, compared to 19% for Romney. And he wins independents by a 39 point margin against the President, compared to 8 points for Romney.
These numbers speak to the fact that Huntsman would be an incredibly formidable candidate against Obama if he made it to the general election. His appeal to Democrats and to independents is remarkable for a Republican candidate. And that's exactly why he won't even come close to smelling the nomination.
-Bill Clinton lost Utah by 19 points in 1992 and that's the closest a Democrat has come to winning the state since 1964. That makes Sarah Palin's performance against Obama truly remarkable- she leads him by only 2 points at 43-41, losing independent voters by 26 points and getting only 69% of the Republican vote while Obama takes 89% of the Democrats. We've polled Palin's favorability in 33 states over the course of the last 8 months and haven't found voters with a positive opinion of her anywhere. We thought dark red Utah might finally be the one but only 32% of voters there have a favorable opinion of her to 58% with an unfavorable one. The search continues. The fact that Palin would make Utah a swing state may be the greatest sign of her weakness yet.
Rounding out the Republican field in Utah Herman Cain leads Obama by 7 points at 43-36, Tim Pawlenty has an 11 point advantage over him at 45-34, and Michele Bachmann tops him by 14 points at 49-35.
-One final note: if the non-Mormons in Utah were a state it could very well be the bluest state in the country, at least based on the results of this poll. Only 30% of poll respondents were not Mormons so the sample size on this group is about 220, making the margin of error +/-6.6%. Nevertheless Obama's approval rating with non-Mormons is 66% with only 29% of voters disapproving of him. That's a higher approval than we've found for Obama in any other state and only Hawaii where he's at 64% even comes close. He leads Huntsman by 9 points with non-Mormons and beyond that it's landslides- 40 points over Romney, 43 against Bachmann, 46 versus Pawlenty, 47 against Cain, and a 51 point edge on Palin.
Folks who know Utah politics better than me- is the non-Mormon population in the state really this liberal Democratic? I had no idea and found these results to be pretty fascinating.
Full results here