Box Elder County, Utah had a GOP straw poll last night. Bob Bennett may be celebrating his win in public, but in private he is putting on Depends and girding himself for defeat. It is pretty clear after Box Elder's straw poll, regardless of just how meaningless straw polls tend to be, that Bob Bennett is in serious, serious trouble.Bob Bennett received 121 votes while Mike Lee received 100. Candidate Bridgewater got 50 with candidate Eagar getting 35.But here's the thing and why this straw poll is notable even though straw polls can typically be dismissed like the CPAC one: Mike Lee has not had a meeting in Box Elder yet, and he got 21 votes less than Bennett. More troubling, and why this straw poll has some credibility, is that Utah is going through a caucus process. Straw polls can, in fact, reflect the passion of the crowd that turns out in a caucus. Why? Because the horde of fired up voters that go to a caucus also go to vote in straw polls, which is why guys like Ron Paul do better in caucuses than primaries.In Utah, if Bob Bennett cannot get 60% of the vote in a convention in May whose voting delegates will be determined in the next month, Bennett is gone. And in Box Elder, the combined anti-Bennett vote was 61.3%.At CPAC on Saturday, Congressman Jason Chaffetz suggested Bob Bennett was in serious trouble.
"The people are restless, they want to see change, and Sen. Bennett, with all due respect, he is going to have to go out and defend his record and explain some things to voters," Chaffetz told CNN Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
With voters in Utah angry with Bennett's support of the stimulus — he voted against it, but sent letters to the President begging him for stimulus money before the stimulus even passed Congress — and his vote in favor of the bank bailouts/TARP, Bennett is on the wrong side of Utah voters.He can be defeated. Mike Lee can do it.