Democrats have officially crowned the Duke, but Utahns still don't seem ready to usher him into the White House come November.
Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis trails Vice President George Bush in Utah polls, and citizens interviewed informally by the Deseret News early Thursday morning had no illusions that the Democrats' marathon man can snap Utah's GOP winning streak.In fact, most people who briefly interrupted their mad dash to work expressed genuine apathy about the 1988 presidential campaign. Only one person interviewed had even taken the time to watch the Democratic hoopla in Atlanta Wednesday night.
Nevertheless, many said they like the image the 54-year-old Harvard lawyer portrays - that of the common man, who mows his own lawn with a hand-powered mower, keeps his word, pays his bills and gave his wife a waffle iron on Valentine's Day.
Dukakis, who, if elected, will be the first American president born of immigrant parents since Andrew Jackson, appears to have a traditional orientation to family values that went over well with those interviewed Thursday.
Still, most described Dukakis as dull - a man who touches the hand, but not the heart, and one who will be remembered for his competence - not charisma.
"You hear a lot of comparisons, Dukakis with Kennedy, but he (Dukakis) doesn't have that kind of charisma or panache to carry the state - Utah being so Republican and all," said loan officer Russ Miller.
"Bush doesn't excite people either. But if neither candidate really excites people, Utahns are going to go with their typical tendencies and vote Republican."
Robert Jones concurred. "I haven't got a lot of emotion for him. He isn't one who stirs you up; he's not as flamboyant and politically orientated as the Kennedys."
But Phil May, Salt Lake City, doesn't think that's all bad. He believes that comparing the Kennedys and Dukakis isn't fair - "especially now in what we know in hindsight what went on with the Kennedys."
He thinks Dukaskis deserves better.
"I feel that he's very straightforward; I think we can depend on him, and we need a honest, straightforward president for a change," said May, a Tracy Collins Bank employee.
Barbara Young agrees.
"He comes over to me as being very sincere and very much for the people," she said.
Young, who declared, "I vote the way I feel, and I have a good feeling about Dukakis," thinks the Massachusetts chief will
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