President George Bush and the U.S. Congress are thought of less kindly by Utahns these days, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Most Utahns still like the job Bush is doing, but not even a third of state residents like the job Congress is doing, found pollster Dan Jones & Associates.Democratic Rep. Wayne Owens, who just won re-election to his 2nd District seat, also received lower job performance ratings than in previous months, Jones found. However, Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Hansen - who won re-election to his 1st District seat Tuesday - actually saw improvement in their job performance ratings. Seventy-four percent of Utahns like the job Garn is doing, 67 percent approve of Hatch's performance and 56 percent like the job Hansen is doing.
Meanwhile, Gov. Norm Bangerter's ratings stayed exactly the same as in a similar survey taken in June - 56 percent approve, 41 percent disapprove.
Utahns clearly didn't like the way Bush and Congress haggled over the recent budget crisis, causing the drop in job performance ratings for the president and national lawmakers.
In June, Bush had a very high approval rating: 81 percent. That dropped to 76 percent in the latest poll after he agreed to raise income taxes on middle- and upper-income Americans as part of the budget/deficit package.
Congress, never well-thought-of in Utah, went from a 49 percent approval rating to 32 percent, Jones found.
In June, the job performance of the U.S. Supreme Court dropped to 59 percent, probably because of several unpopular decisions including the upholding of the right to burn the American flag in protest. By November, the high court's approval rating in Utah had rebounded to 64 percent, Jones found.
Usually, politicians who are on the verge of winning re-election see an improvement in their job approval ratings - like Hansen found this November. But Owens went against that tide.
Even though he defeated Republican Genevieve Atwood by 18 percentage points in Tuesday's election, his largest victory ever in the 2nd District, his job approval rating among all Utahns dropped from 60 percent to 56 percent, Jones found. Among 2nd District residents only, Owens' job approval rating dropped 3 percentage points, Jones found.
Owens was the only member of the Utah congressional delegation to vote for the budget compromise, which imposes higher taxes. His drop in job performance may reflect that vote.
Owens' disapproval rating went from 28 percent in June to 37 percent percent in November, a large increase. While Bangerter's job performance ratings - those who approve and who disapprove - stayed the same over the summer and fall, his disapproval rating of 41 percent is the highest of any of the state's leaders.
Utahns think only Congress is doing a worse job than the governor. Congress' disapproval rating is 62 percent, Jones found.
Deseret News/KSL-TV poll
How would you rate the job performance of the following officials:
U.S. Supreme Court