Children in Utah are or would like to be - messier than their peers throughout the country. On the other hand, they read more books and they believe on a greater scale that their parents really have their interests at heart.

The results of a national survey conducted by Waldenbooks include responses from Utah kids, who composed 2 percent of the those polled.The data show Utah children don't always think like kids around the country, and sometimes the results appear contradictory.

For instance, 50 percent of the Utah youngsters said their parents are too protective, compared with 42 percent nationally. But 90 percent said they think their parents really listen to kids' concerns, while only 72 percent in the poll overall had that perception.

Sixty-five percent of the Utah kids said their rooms are personal territory and they should be allowed to let them get messy if they choose. Only 51 percent of the youngsters who responded nationally were of like mind.

If it appears they read more, the Utah youngsters throw another curve when 30 percent say they like to read books only of their own choosing - not those imposed on them in the classroom - compared with 20 percent nationally.

What quality would they most like in a new president? Sixty-five percent say being smart is the best thing the new president can bring to the office. Forty percent see honesty as the most important quality for the nation's leader.

The youngsters likely reflect their parents' attitudes about the current candidates. Twenty-five percent say they would prefer Bush as president, compared with 17 percent nationally. Ten percent favor Dukakis, compared with 8 percent nationally, and 40 percent say Reagan has done a good job, compared with 33 percent nationally.

The great majority of Utah kids polled - 85 percent - believe there will be female and black presidents by the time they are adults. The national figure was 77 percent for women presidents and 76 percent for blacks.

About a third - 30 percent - of the Utah children look toward a future in which there are no more nuclear weapons. Their peers agree only to the tune of 26 percent.

By the time they're old enough to have children of their own, 35 percent of the Utah kids indicate, they believe there will be people living on the moon. A fourth of those surveyed throughout the country believe such a thing will come to pass.