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It's clear that Mitt Romney is a more beloved figure in Utah than Jon Huntsman — at least among Republican voters. But Huntsman certainly has a big following among Utah Democrats and independents.

In fact, in a general election showdown, Huntsman would rack up a bigger win over President Barack Obama than Romney would, according to a new survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

Huntsman would net a 40 percent victory over the president as compared to a 32 percent win for Romney over Obama, the survey shows.

The reason: Utah Democrats give Huntsman a 69 percent approval rating and independents offer him a 61 percent approval rating. The former Utah governor would rake in 28 percent of Democrats over Obama, the poll shows, and leads the president among independents by 39 points.

"These numbers speak to the fact that Huntsman would be an incredibly formidable candidate against Obama if he made it to the general election," the polling firm says. "His appeal to Democrats and to independents is remarkable for a Republican candidate. And that's exactly why he won't even come close to smelling the nomination."

The pollsters also note what they find to be "pretty fascinating:" that non-Mormons in the state give Obama an approval rating of 66 percent, a number higher than polls have found in any other state.

"If the non-Mormons in Utah were a state, it could very well be the bluest state in the country," the firm says.

But non-Mormons in the poll counted less than a third and Utah continues to be one of the most conservative bastions in the country.— Thomas