Hatch faces real challenge from Matheson in 2012

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Utah’s single Democratic congressman, Rep. Jim Matheson, has a good shot at unseating Sen. Orrin Hatch should he decide to run for Senate, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

Despite the large voter registration advantage that Republicans hold in the state, Matheson and Hatch tied in a poll of Utah voters. Hatch took 44 percent of the vote and Matheson got 45 percent. (Berkley raises more than $1.2 million for Senate bid)

Hatch would soundly beat any of his other possible Democrat opponents, Jan Graham and Sam Granato.

Matheson is very popular in the state, while Hatch has middling approval ratings. Fifty-nine percent of voters said they had a favorable opinion of Matheson, and 28 percent held an unfavorable opinion. Hatch’s approval rating is 46 percent, with 43 percent disapproving.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Hatch’s likely competition in a Republican primary, does less well. Though he beats Granato and Graham, he loses to Matheson by 5 percentage points.

A Deseret News/KSL-TV poll last month found Hatch narrowly edging out Chaffetz in a primary challenge – with 47 percent saying they would probably or definitely vote for Hatch, and 44 percent saying they would probably or definitely vote for Chaffetz.