Poll: Hatch, Chaffetz Close in GOP Primary

Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:52pm

A new poll found Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jason Chaffetz statistically tied in a hypothetical GOP Utah Senate primary.

Hatch led 47 percent to 44 percent among registered Republicans in the Dan Jones & Associates poll conducted for the Deseret News. In hypothetical general election matchups, Hatch tied Rep. Jim Matheson (D) at 47 percent, and Chaffetz took 46 percent to Matheson’s 45 percent.

The poll surveyed 406 registered voters June 13-16 and had a 5-point margin of error. Chaffetz and Matheson are not announced candidates, but both have said they are considering statewide runs.

The results indicate that Hatch could be vulnerable in a primary, but GOP nominees actually are selected at the state party convention by locally elected delegates. If no candidate takes 60 percent of the delegate vote, the two highest vote-getters face off in a primary.

“I’m surprised it’s as good as it is, because incumbents are always down in the polls” early in the cycle, Hatch told the newspaper.