Every year, Deseret News movie critic Chris Hicks picks who he thinks will win Oscars and TV critic Joe Walker picks Emmy winners.
So this year, I'm going to pick the winners of the elections.READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CAREFULLY!!
These are not endorsements by myself nor the Deseret News and I'm not suggesting that you vote for the candidates I think will win. It would be nice if you voted for someone, since all good Americans should do that.
So here goes:
Vice President George Bush will win big in Utah in the presidential race. This is Ronald Reagan country and since early summer Bush has pulled steadily away from Democrat Michael Dukakis. I don't think, however, the Bush-Quayle ticket will get the 75 percent majority Reagan-Bush got in 1984.
I'll go way out on a limb and say Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will win a third term. He's ahead by 40 points in the polls over his Democratic challenger Brian Moss. Hatch would like to defeat Moss by a greater margin than Sen. Jake Garn dispatched Craig Oliver in 1986, but Hatch won't likely reach Garn's 72 percent.
Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, will once again defeat Democrat Gunn McKay in the 1st Congressional District, but the margin may not be greater than the 3-percent victory Hansen eked out in 1986. A defeat will likely end McKay's political career.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, will beat Republican Richard Snelgrove in the 2nd District, the first re-election victory in Owens' career. Owens probably won't get 60 percent of the vote, but the district is still Republican in nature and he shouldn't expect a big win.
Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, will win again in the 3rd District. He leads Democrat Robert Stringham by 40 points in the polls. The simple fact is no Democrat can beat a Republican in that district, which many politicos say is the most Republican House district in the United States.
All three tax initiatives will lose. But Initiatives A and B may get 40 percent support, a strong showing that could encourage renewed efforts by tax protesters to either force the Legislature to pass some kind of tax limitation or start another initiative petition drive.
Attorney General David Wilkinson will win a third term. But Democrat Paul Van Dam has scared him, drawing as close as he has. State Auditor Tom Allen will win again, but State Treasurer Ed Alter will be defeated by Democratic Salt Lake County Treasurer Art Monson.
Republican Salt Lake County Commissioner Mike Stewart and former GOP commissioner Tom Shimizu will be elected, making an all-Republican commission.
Oh, yes. The governor's race.
I think Democrat Ted Wilson will win. But he'll get less than 40 percent of the vote and will beat Gov. Norm Bangerter by less than 1 percent. Independent Merrill Cook will finish a strong third, much better than any so-called political expert, me included, ever thought he would.
Bangerter could win. There's no doubt of that. If he does, Democrats should be very discouraged in Utah. It probably wouldn't be until after the year 2000 that they could hope of winning a statewide race here.
A September poll by the Deseret News and KSL-TV showed that 50 percent of Utahns disapproved of the job Bangerter is doing as governor.
Think about that. A guy who half the state doesn't think is doing an adequate job winning another four years? It is a very telling statistic.
Even more unfortunate, politically, for the governor is that 33 percent of those who said they're Republicans disapproved of the job he's doing.
Wilson doesn't hold office now, so we couldn't measure his job performance. But polls taken during his 10 years as Salt Lake City mayor showed him a popular and trusted public official.
If a Republican governor in as much trouble with voters as Bangerter can defeat a popular Democrat, even with an independent thrown in to mess up the formulas, then it's clear party labels are just too strongly followed in Utah for Democrats to have a chance at statewide office.