A new poll showed Mitt Romney with a 42-point lead over his primary opponent, Dr. Mike Kennedy. The Utah primary will take place on June 26.
What’s Romney running for again?
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate that will become open when Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) retires at the end of this year.
Romney hoped to avoid a primary by clinching the endorsement of the Utah Republican Party at the GOP state convention in April. However, the delegates were not ready to hand Romney the nomination that easily and voted for Kennedy over Romney 51 percent to 49 percent.
What did the poll say?
The new poll was conducted by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and polled 356 registered Republicans. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 5.2 points.
The poll showed Romney leading among every political demographic of voters. His narrowest margin was among voters who considered themselves to be “very conservative.” Romney won those voters 45.8 percent to 41.7 percent, which is within the margin of error.
Romney polled significantly better in every other category, consistently reaching 70 percent or more. His strongest voting bloc came from Republicans who considered themselves “very liberal.” One hundred percent of these voters said that they would vote for him over Kennedy.
Kennedy’s team released a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune downplaying the poll: “Our polling is showing differently and we remain focused on working hard to speak with and represent regular Utahns in our fight to change the establishment in Washington and finally reduce our deficit.”
Throughout the campaign, Kennedy has tried to paint Romney as a “flip-flopping carpetbagger” and criticized the former governor for moving to Utah just before running for the Senate seat. However, Romney is popular in Utah for his role in salvaging the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
When it came to the general election, the poll predicted a strong win for either candidate against Democrat Jenny Wilson. Romney led Wilson 58.4 percent to 19.6 percent, while Kennedy led 43.4 percent to 27.5 percent. The general election poll surveyed at 654 registered voters and had a margin of error of +/- 3.9 points.
Romney is also leading Kennedy in funding. Romney’s campaign reportedly took in almost $2 million in donations over the past two months, while Kennedy raised only $152,000 over the same time period. Romney also brought in roughly $1 million from his failed 2012 presidential campaign.