Romney v. Wilson race coverage 16

Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate candidate, addresses the crowd alongside U.S. Senator Mike Lee during a watch party held at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Orem. The U.S.

The majority of Utah voters disapprove of the state’s two Republican United States senators, a new poll has found.

The poll, which was conducted by UtahPolicy and Salt Lake City-based Y2 Analytics, found that 46% of registered voters approve of freshman Sen. Mitt Romney’s job performance while a little over half disapprove. Meanwhile, 43% approve of Sen. Mike Lee’s performance and 47% do not.

Romney is shown to be more popular among Utah Democrats than Lee. Nearly a third of “strong” Democrats polled approve of Romney’s job performance while only 5% approve of Lee’s. Sixty-four percent of strong Democratic voters, compared to 83%, disapprove of the respective senators.

Conversely, Lee is the heavy favorite among “strong” Republican voters: 72% approve and 19% disapprove. Romney’s approval rating from strong Republicans is 40% and his disapproval rating is 58%.

The poll also found that Romney has a higher approval rating among women.

Survey conductors reached out to 979 registered Utah voters in late September and early October. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

Daniel Hicken, chairman of the Utah County Democratic Party, said he is not surprised there is a strong partisan divide among approval ratings of the two Republican senators.

While the majority of Utahns are conservative, Hicken said that there is a “sizable minority” of Democrats whose ideologies align closer with Romney than with Lee.

“I think Mitt Romney is trying to better represent (a wide variety of) Utah citizens whereas I think Mr. Lee is approaching it more from his constitutionalist view,” Hicken said.

The Utah County Republican Party did not respond to requests to comment on the poll.

The senators differ significantly in how they have reacted to President Donald Trump’s policies and actions.

Romney has received national attention for his criticisms of the president and become the face of Republican dissent to the current administration.

This image has created resentment among his fellow GOP colleagues.

“It’s awfully easy to sit in the stands and be critical of the people on the field,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said of Romney on Tuesday, The Hill reporter.

Trump has personally lambasted the new Utah senator, calling him a “pompous a--” in a tweet earlier this month.

Lee has been far less critical of the president.

During a September town hall, the senator said he didn’t believe it is “a problem” that Trump encouraged the Ukrainian government to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

In an interview on Fox News, Lee applauded the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, a move that Romney has referred to as an example of the U.S. “abandon(ing) an ally.”

According to data tracked by Morning Consult, Trump’s net approval rating among registered Utah voters has dropped by 30% since he took office. As of September, 47% of Utahns approve of the president while half disapprove.

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