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Washington • A slight majority of Utahns approve of Sen. Orrin Hatch's job performance while 46 percent say the same about Sen. Mike Lee, according to a new poll.
Hatch, who has said he won't run for re-election to an eighth term in 2018, has approval from 51 percent of Utahns, while 38 percent say they disapprove of the job he's doing in Washington.
About 46 percent of Utah voters like the work that Lee is doing while 29 percent don't, according to the poll commissioned by the Washington-based news outlet Morning Consult.
Hatch ranks 21st among all senators in job approval, the poll shows, while Lee comes in at 26th (when ties are lumped together in ranking). The most popular senator, with 83 percent approval, is Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who won a tight race for his seat last year, holds the lowest approval rating with 37 percent of residents saying he's doing a good job.
Morning Consult polled more than 75,000 voters in all 50 states; In the Utah portion, the margin of error is 4 percent.
Both Utah senators appear to be doing better now than they had earlier this year. The Utah Voter Poll, conducted by Brigham Young University, showed Hatch with 44 percent favorability and 53 percent unfavorable. Some 45 percent of Utahns gave Lee a favorable rating and 48 percent unfavorable.
Hatch's chief of staff, Rob Porter, took the numbers as a win for the senior senator.
"Senator Hatch appreciates the broad support from throughout our state as he continues to fight for streamlined government and increased opportunities for all Utahns," Porter said.
Lee's communications director, Conn Carroll, said that Lee is "honored" to have strong support among Utahns but said that the senator isn't looking at polls.
"The only numbers Senator Lee is focused on are the number of Utahns who are seeing job opportunities and work hours reduced while their insurance premiums are skyrocketing and those who are losing health coverage all together," Carroll said. "His policy agenda is focused on creating upward mobility for the poor, real opportunity for the middle class while ending special perks and privileges for the wealthy and well-connected."
The poll did find a notable result given Americans disdain for Washington politics. While Congress as a whole gets low marks – sometimes lower than cockroaches or colonoscopies – Americans have a better view of their own senators. Of the 100 senators, 69 have approval ratings above 50 percent.