I spent the better part of my late morning and early afternoon today going door-to-door for Pete Ashdown inviting people to a candidate's night next week. It was a pretty enjoyable time, and I enjoyed conversing with my "distribution partner" as we went door-to-door. I found something, though, as I was talking to these voters: there is a deep yet quiet contempt for Orrin Hatch in middle-class Magna.
Pollsters are showing Hatch winning with 61% of the electorate behind him. I found, however, that when I mentioned that Ashdown is running against Hatch, the tone of the interaction changed from polite boredom to sudden interest. I ended up being refused by only one of over one hundred households that I visited, and many of those households were interested in knowing more.
This wasn't just some Democratic stronghold either. Most of the signs I saw in yards were for Republicans. I even had one man identify himself as a Republican, but was very interested in Pete's campaign once I mentioned the opposition. Based on my experiences today, I find myself wondering if Hatch isn't going to rest on his laurels to a slim victory or even a defeat. To date, all of the political material I've encountered for him is little more than name recognition-type stuff, a "feel-good" campaign like the kind Dwight Eisenhower ran with.
Despite what the polls may say, Hatch hasn't made many friends with liberals or conservatives as of late. If he wins, it will be a coast to victory on his past accomplishments, name recognition, and seniority, not his current job performance. Here's to 2006 being the last run for this senator.