There is red and there is red. As in fire engine-ruby-crimson-blood-cardinal red.
Politically speaking, Utah falls into the latter category.
It has been nearly half a century since the state voted Democratic in a presidential election. President
The state’s congressional delegation is all Republican, save for Democrat Jim Matheson, who represents a Salt Lake City-area district and enjoys perennial membership in the national
All of which make noteworthy a new poll out from Brigham Young University.
The survey found that freshman Republican Sen.
As it happens, his chief ally in rolling down the gates on the federal government, Sen.
Lee is not up for reelection in Utah until 2016, making a poll today about as relevant as an extended 3-year weather forecast. More meaningful was this finding: Nearly 6 in 10 of those surveyed said he should be more willing to compromise, even if that means funding the federal healthcare initiative that is Obama's crowning legislative achievement and was, at least starting out, the casus belli of the 10-day-old shutdown.
Lee brushed aside the survey. “The only numbers I’m concerned with are the percentage of Utahns who are feeling the negative effects of
Lee holds a special place in
Lee continues to enjoy strong popularity within the state's tea party movement. Ninety percent of those who identified themselves as active tea partyers expressed support for the senator. But independents, moderate Republicans and Democrats all gave Lee poor marks.
That sentiment could augur well for a bipartisan group of activists circulating a petition that would end the system of caucuses and conventions Utah uses to nominate its candidates. The measure, throwing elections open to a statewide ballot, would broaden the voter pool and presumably dilute the power of the purist wing of each party.
"We're the only state where a handful of people -- just a handful of people -- routinely choose candidates," former Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt said in launching the drive, which aims to collect 102,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.
It is, in short, the establishment's way of slapping back at Lee and his tea party cohorts.