Orrin Hatch (R): 60
Dan Liljenquist (R): 32
Scott Howell (D): 29Tuesday's primary election encompasses four states -- New York, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah (or six, if you count South Carolina's and South Dakota's runoffs). And, although there are some dramatic Congressional primaries in New York, the marquee event of the night is probably Utah's Republican Senate primary, where Orrin Hatch attempts to avoid the fate of his fellow colleague who entered the Senate in 1976, Richard Lugar (who lost a tea-flavored primary challenge last month). The polling we're seeing, however, suggests Hatch shouldn't have any trouble, as he's nearly doubling-up on his opposition.
Orrin Hatch (R): 63
Scott Howell (D): 34
Dan Liljenquist (R): 48
Former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist has a lot of the same backers from the Beltway wing of the tea party movement who bolstered Richard Mourdock in Indiana, operatives like FreedomWorks. However, Hatch has been avoiding Lugar's mistakes, by engaging early-on in tea party outreach and conservative saber-rattling all cycle (unlike Lugar, who tried to run the same campaign that he's always run); furthermore, nothing surfaced to damage Hatch the way the residency issues helped take down Lugar. While Liljenquist did manage to force a primary (usually Hatch has been re-nominated without hassle at the state's party convention), local pollster Dan Jones finds Liljenquist far behind Hatch. That matches the only other recent pre-primary poll, from Key Research last week, which gave Hatch a 56-29 edge among likely voters.
Utah is arguably the reddest state in the nation, so this was never going to be a pickup for the Dems regardless of who won the GOP primary. It's interesting to note, though, that Democratic ex-state Sen. Scott Howell runs much better against Liljenquist than against Hatch, who (like Lugar) has a fair amount of crossover appeal. Not to the extent that it would have been truly competitive this year, but maybe, as Utah's demographics continue to change, this gives us some hope it might be at least a mildly interesting race in 2018 when it's an open seat (as Hatch has said this'll be his last term).
Jim Matheson (D-inc): 53 (53)As part of their sample, Dan Jones polled anything and everything else that's going on in the Beehive State. The most attention-grabbing numbers are from what will probably be the state's most competitive race in November, where the state's lone Democratic federal official, Rep. Jim Matheson, is in a tough fight in UT-04. Matheson represented UT-02 for the last decade, but moved to the newly-created 4th, seeing as how it's a somewhat easier district even though it means a lot of new constituents; he faces Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs and, by most people's estimation, a Republican rising star.
Mia Love (R): 38 (36)
As difficult as Matheson's task is, Jones still finds him in the driver's seat, probably thanks to his moderation and his famous last name (his father was the state's last Democratic Governor). The numbers have barely budged since the last time they looked at the race, in December, back when Matheson first announced he'd run in the 4th. Jones commented that he expects the race to get closer as Love becomes better-known, but Matheson is already over the 50% mark, meaning Love would actually have to change a lot of minds, not just win over the bulk of the Republican-leaning undecideds. (The MoE is big, Dan Jones hasn't had the most accurate track record, and a Mason-Dixon poll in April found a much closer 45-42 race in Matheson's favor, so don't start spiking the ball yet.)
Here are some of the other findings from the poll:
• UT-Pres: Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama 68-26 in the presidential race. (By comparison, Obama lost Utah 62-34 in 2008.) Considering Romney's unique strengths in Utah, this shouldn't come as a surprise.(H/t to Setsuna Mudo for rounding up all these links in one place.)
• UT-01: Republican Rob Bishop leads both Democratic opponents by wide margins in the state's least competitive Congressional race; he's up 65-22 over Ryan Combe and 66-22 over Donna McAleer. (Jones apparently also polled UT-02 and UT-03, but those results don't seem to have been released yet. The race in the 2nd, which is an open seat, has a reasonably solid Democrat in it, and has been the source of much Republican infighting, could conceivably give us some interesting numbers.)
• UT-AG: John Swallow leads Sean Reyes 52-24 in Tuesday's Republican primary for the open Attorney General position; no general election matchups were given.
• UT-Auditor: 17-year state Auditor Auston Johnson has only a 29-25 lead over state Rep. John Dougall in the Republican Auditor primary.
• Salt Lake County Mayor: Mike Winder leads Mark Crockett 48-42 in the primary for the #1 slot in the state's largest county. Winder and Crockett both lead the likely Dem nominee, Ben McAdams, in general election matchups (48-40 and 49-35 respectively). This position isn't necessarily a lost cause for Dems, as most of the state's Dems are in this county; outgoing mayor Peter Corroon, for instance, is a Democrat.