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Utah political polling icon Dan Jones dies

Dan Jones speaks at the University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics Apr 4, 2008 in Salt Lake City. Jeffrey D. Allred/photo

SALT LAKE CITY — Longtime Utah political analyst and pollster Dan Jones has died at the age of 84

Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office announced Jones’ death in a tweet on Friday afternoon.

Jones spent decades taking the pulse of Utahns on a range of political and social issues. He was the co-founder and past CEO of the polling firm Dan Jones and Associates.

Tributes to Jones poured in from prominent figures and organizations throughout the afternoon.

Republican Utah senate candidate Mitt Romney issued a statement calling Jones a “political institution” who kept the political system on a straight an honest path.

Salt Lake Chamber president and CEO Derek Miller praised Jones as a mentor and friend.

“I could call on him anytime and I left every interaction with increased knowledge and ability to make sound decisions,” Miller said.

The Cicero Group acquired Dan Jones and Associates in 2010. Jones and his wife, Patricia, then became senior advisors who remained actively involved in the firm’s polling efforts.

“He had a quick wit and an even bigger heart,” Cicero Group founder and Chairman Randy Shumway said in a statement. “He cared immensely about others. I have admired him enormously in a professional setting, but it is his friendship and personal mentoring that I will miss the most.”

Jones received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Utah. He taught at both Utah State University and the University of Utah until 2013, when he retired from teaching. He was also a past associate director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the U.

Jones is survived by his wife Patricia Jones, who is a past member of the Utah Legislature and the current CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute, as well as 7 children and 16 grandchildren.