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Poll: Mike Winder, Mark Crockett in tight race as GOP primary nears

Published: Sunday, June 24 2012 12:19 a.m. MDT

Mike Winder, left, shakes hands with Mark Crockett after a recent GOP primary debate in the county mayor's race.

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Copyright 2012 Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Republicans Mike Winder and Mark Crockett are locked in a tight intra-party battle, though both would be favored against Democrat Ben McAdams in November, in the race for Salt Lake County mayor, according to a new poll.

Winder holds a 48 percent to 42 percent lead over Crockett among Salt Lake County residents who plan to vote in Tuesday's GOP primary, according to a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll.

Some 250 people responded to the poll question during a telephone survey that began June 15 and wrapped up Thursday, giving the poll a 6.2 percent margin of error.

When pitted against McAdams in the Nov. 6 general election, Crockett is favored by 49 percent of respondents to McAdams' 35 percent. If Winder wins the Republican primary, 48 percent of those polled said they would likely vote for him, while 40 percent said they preferred McAdams.

The sample size was larger for the general election questions, reducing the margin of error to 4.5 percent.

"It's exciting to see us in the lead in both the primary and general election match-ups," said Winder, West Valley City's mayor since 2010. "I'm proud of the positive campaign we've run, and we feel if we can get our supporters to the polls Tuesday, we can win."

To Crockett, the numbers indicate the GOP primary "is a very close race."

The former Salt Lake County councilman said he believes the 11 percent of undecided voters in the GOP primary puts him in a good position to win Tuesday.

"I think, at this point, people are largely decided about Mike Winder one way or another," Crockett said. "If the undecideds go the way we think they're going to go, that says this is a very close race."

Crockett also said he's encouraged by his 14-point lead over McAdams if the two were to meet in the general election.

"I do think we stand a better chance of winning in November (than Winder)," he said. "I think it's very interesting the polls show that already."

McAdams said he isn't worried about trailing at this point, especially since much of the talk and media coverage of the race has focused on the GOP primary.

"When I get my chance to put my vision out there and people get to know me and what I stand for, I think we'll be in good shape," he said.

Pollster Dan Jones said the GOP primary has been "very, very volatile" and is "a very, very tough one to call."

Winder benefits from his family's name, Jones said, but some poll respondents raised concerns about his use of the pen name Richard Burwash to submit articles to local media outlets, including the Deseret News and KSL.com.

"We got comments about Burwash and all that," Jones said.

Crockett, he said, "is very, very articulate about what he says he's going to do."

In the lone Salt Lake County Council race, Joe Demma is favored 22 percent to 12 percent over fellow Republican Melvin Nimer in Tuesday's primary, though a whopping 65 percent remain undecided, according to the poll.

Incumbent Jim Bradley, a Democrat, would be favored against either candidate in November, 42 percent to 32 percent against Demma and 45 percent to 31 percent vs. Nimer.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

Email: jpage@desnews.com

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