Utahns like the idea of Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis and Lt. Gov. Val Oveson running for governor next year. They don't much like the idea of independent candidate Merrill Cook seeking the office again, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Utahns will have a new governor in 1993 - Gov. Norm Bangerter has already announced he won't seek a third term. And while no one has formally announced yet, the candidate field already is crowded.Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a recent survey that DePaulis, a Democrat, comes in ahead among all candidates listed. Oveson comes in ahead among the Republicans.
Cook, who left the Republican Party in 1988 and ran an independent campaign that saw him get 20 percent of the gubernatorial vote, fares the worst of all those in the poll, Jones found. Fifty-two percent of those questioned don't want Cook to run, by far the highest negative rating Jones found.
It's 18 months away from the 1992 election, and so far out from Election Day the best measure of a potential candidate's appeal is a favorable rating derived by ranking candidates on a 1 to 5 scale, Jones said. Jones asked 604 Utahns to rank the potential candidates on whether they want or don't want them to seek the office. A 1 ranking means the person questioned very much doesn't want the candidate to run, a 5 means he very much wants the person to run. The higher the mean score, the more people wanted the candidate to run.
"Don't knows" aren't counted in the mean score; only those with an opinion of the candidate were included, Jones said.
DePaulis got a 3.32 mean score, the highest of any candidate. Only 12 percent of those polled didn't have an opinion on DePaulis, leaving him with the highest recognition level of any candidate as well. Forty percent wanted DePaulis to run, the highest positive rating of any candidate. Only 19 percent didn't want the mayor to run. Among those who say they're Democrats, DePaulis leads as well, Jones found.
The mayor has already announced he won't seek reelection in the city this year, leaving open the possibility he'll run for governor next year.
Democrat Scott Matheson Jr. comes in second overall with a 3.27 mean score. Matheson, son of the late governor, is a University of Utah law professor. He is the leading Democrat among those who are thinking about running for the U.S. Senate in 1992, a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll published last week shows, and Matheson says he's thinking more about the Senate race than the governor's race.
Oveson comes in third in the gubernatorial poll, but leading the Republican contenders, with a 3.07 mean score.
Rep. Jim Hansen, who says he's seriously considering the gubernatorial race, places second behind Oveson in the GOP column with a 2.88 mean score. Thirty-six percent of those questioned don't want Hansen to run, 30 percent favor his candidacy.
Because so many Republicans are looking at the governor's race, it's assured there will be a GOP convention fight with a high likelihood of a Republican primary as well. That means GOP candidates must do well with Republican state delegates to come out of the state GOP convention and with Republican loyalists in the primary election.
Among those who say they're Republican, Hansen overtakes Oveson. Jones found Hansen has a mean score of 3.23 among Republicans, Oveson a 3.20 score.
Third among the Republicans is former House Speaker Nolan Karras, who has a 2.81 mean score among all Utahns, a 3.09 score among Republicans, Jones found.
Cook says he's considering coming back into the Republican Party, but Jones found that 54 percent of those who said they're Republicans don't want Cook to run for governor in 1992. Only 19 percent of Republicans favor Cook's candidacy.
The following Republicans and Democrats are being mentioned as possible candidates for governor in 1991. On a scale of 1 to 5, wht 1 being not in favor and 5 being very much in favor, please tell me how you feel about each candidate running for governor:
Not in Very much Don't Mean
Favor In favor know
Lt. Gov. Val Oveson
9% 12% 25% 20% 8% 26% 3.07
1st District Rep.
Jim Hansen 18% 18% 24% 20% 10% 15% 2.88
Former Utah House Speaker
Nolan Karras 8% 12% 18% 8% 5% 48% 2.81
Former U.S. Attorney
Brent Ward 8% 10% 23% 8% 3% 47% 2.79
Former presidential aide
Steve Studdert 8% 9% 16% 8% 3% 56% 2.74
Lecturer and writer
Richard Eyre 10% 10% 15% 5% 3% 56% 2.59
Former state Public
John T. Nielsen 7% 14% 16% 6% 2% 55% 2.58
Salt Lake Mayor
Palmer DePaulis 9% 10% 29% 24% 16% 12% 3.32
Scott Matheson Jr. 6% 10% 27% 21% 11% 26% 3.27
U.of U. President
Chase Peterson 14% 16% 19% 16% 8% 27% 2.83
Businessman Tony Rampton 6% 12% 18% 8% 3% 53% 2.78
Businessman Kem Gardner 5% 15% 18% 9% 1% 51% 2.73
State Judge Scott Daniels 7% 11% 13% 7% 3% 58% 2.70
Stewart Hanson Jr. 7% 14% 16% 9% 2% 52% 2.65
State Sen. Scott Howell 7% 14% 16% 5% 2% 57% 2.57
Businessman Merrill Cook 38% 14% 17% 9% 7% 15% 2.22%