SALT LAKE CITY -- A new national survey shows more Americans prefer Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
The poll by the Democratic strategy and polling group Democracy Corps tried to show the direction of the Republican Party. Huntsman beat Limbaugh 57 percent to 37 percent.
"It's not surprising at all, especially because it's among all Americans. It's not a poll of Republican activists or Rush Limbaugh listeners; it's all Americans. Of course they would prefer a moderate approach from Jon Huntsman because Americans as a whole are more moderate," said Associate Director of the Center for Elections and Democracy at BYU, Quinn Monson.
The survey described Huntsman's position as more middle of the road, and Limbaugh as on the right.
Some feel this shows Huntsman's popularity is growing on a national scale. But Monson said it's more of an effort by Democrats to make Limbaugh the face of the Republican party.
"That's because there's this void of leadership on the Republican side. There's nobody in charge, there's no Republican in power really. There's no presidential candidate anymore so there's a bit of a vacuum on the Republican side and it's going to be filled by somebody," he said.
Monson said there may be some Republicans who like Limbaugh's approach more than Huntsman's.
"I'm not sure that they know who Huntsman is. He's certainly known in Utah and well liked, but he's not widely known outside of Utah. Limbaugh is; he's been around for years. There might be a group of Republicans who prefer Limbaugh to Huntsman just because Huntsman is unknown," Monson said.
Another part of the survey asked Americans to choose who the most influential leader of the Republican Party was. Limbaugh came in third behind John McCain and Newt Gingrich, but Huntsman was not an option on the list.
"It is a little odd that he would appear in a question comparing him to Rush Limbaugh, but not on this other list. It appears the purpose of the poll is to discredit Limbaugh," said Monson.