Utahns favor Vice President George Bush over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and the Rev. Jesse Jackson for president of the United States, a new Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows. But Dukakis does better against the vice president than Jackson does.
Dukakis crushed Jackson by a roughly 2-to-1 ratio in the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday, giving him his fourth straight major primary victory and making him the runaway favorite to claim the Democratic presidential nomination.Bush won the Pennsylvania GOP primary with 79 percent of the vote, surpassing the 1,139 delegates needed to win the party's presidential nomination, according to The Associated Press delegate count.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found that if the presidential election were held today, Bush would beat Dukakis in Utah, 51-36 percent. Two percent would vote for someone else, and 11 percent didn't know whom they would vote for.
Bush would wipe out Jackson. Jones found if the matchup were Bush-Jackson, the vice president would get 70 percent of the vote to Jackson's 18 percent. Two percent would vote for someone else, and 10 percent didn't now whom they would vote for.
Utah is a strongly Republican state, especially in presidential voting. Utahns gave President Ronald Reagan the highest margin of victory in the nation in 1984 75 percent of the vote compared to Walter Mondale's 25 percent.
But Bush, seen by many as a moderate Republican, has not, as yet, achieved the popularity of Reagan here.
Republicans are counting on a strong showing by Bush in Utah to help other GOP races, especially Gov. Norm Bangerter's. Bangerter trails his Democratic opponent, Ted Wilson, by 2-1 in the polls.
But Jones found that 41 percent of the people who said they would vote for Bush in a Bush-Dukakis race would jump parties and vote for Wilson in a Bangerter-Wilson gubernatorial race. Forty-two percent who said they would vote for Bush said they would also vote for Bangerter.
That kind of ticket splitting can't be welcomed by GOP leaders, who hope that Reagan and perhaps Bush can be brought into Utah before the November election to shore up local Republican candidates.
Monday, Dukakis won 70 percent of the Democratic vote in Utah cacuses, picking up an estimated 15 delegates. Jackson got upwards of 20 percent of the caucus vote, getting three delegates. Two delegates will go to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta as uncommitted.
Utah Republicans didn't take a straw vote on the presidential race, since Bush is clearly his party's nominee.