Although Utah still appears to lead the nation in its support for Bush's war management, the drop below 50 percent should be a warning to the Bush administration, said Kirk Jowers, director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics.
"I think Utah is like the canary in the coal mine for Bush," Jowers said. "If he loses Utah, the state that has been most steadfast in supporting him, he has to know it can't get much lower."
Not only are the Bushies losing Utah, but also the NRA?
SEATTLE -- After years of close association with the Republican Party and hard-nosed opposition to federal land-use regulation, the National Rifle Association is being pressured by its membership to distance itself from President Bush's energy policies that have opened more public land for oil and gas drilling and limited access to hunters and anglers.
"The Bush administration has placed more emphasis on oil and gas than access rights for hunters," said Ronald L. Schmeits, second vice president of the NRA, a member of its board of directors and a bank president in Raton, N.M.
The new emphasis on the issue of access to public lands, which Schmeits said is at the "discussion" level among the NRA's directors, would represent a strategic shift for the NRA, whose leadership in Washington has long maintained that its 4 million members were not complaining or even asking questions about access to public lands.
But, during the past six years, an increasing number of the country's 46 million hunters and anglers, including Republican-leaning shooting organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club, have been grumbling about the Bush's administration fast-tracking of oil and gas drilling leases on public lands.