Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has extended his lead over Democrat Brian Moss, the latest Dan Jones & Associates poll shows.
Moss, the son of former Sen. Ted Moss, whom Hatch defeated in 1976, dropped a bit in the latest poll and Hatch gained 8 points compared to a poll taken six weeks ago.Jones, in a survey conducted for the Deseret News and KSL-TV on June 28-29, found that if the election for U.S. Senate were held today, 71 percent of those questioned would vote for Hatch, 21 percent for Moss, 2 percent for American Party candidate Robert J. Smith and 6 percent didn't know whom they would vote for. Jones polled 603 adults for an error margin of plus or minus 4.0 percent.
In a June 1 poll, Jones found that 63 percent favored Hatch, 23 percent wanted Moss, 3 percent were for Smith, 1 percent mentioned someone else and 11 percent didn't know.
Moss said, "I still haven't been able to campaign as I would like. I'm having a hard time raising money because Hatch has raised $2 million. It's the same old story, his huge amounts of money locks out my ability to raise any.
"It's clear Hatch isn't concerned about limiting campaign spending, or about Utahns. Raising $2 million shows he's out to please the special interest groups that are giving him much of that $2 million," Moss said.
Moss said Hatch was one of the Republican senators that filibustered a campaign finance reform bill to death in the Senate this year. "Those in office who are raising these kinds of cash don't want to give it up, be limited. So they killed the bill." The bill, S2, was changed so as not to apply to the 1988 election, but conservative senators, opposed to the public funding aspect of the bill, still opposed it.
Hatch's campaign manager, Bud Scruggs, said the senator hasn't been campaigning openly up to now but will start television advertisements after the July 24th holiday.
"We're going to spend $100,000 on air time, about $10,000 on production, and be on the air the end of July and the first couple of weeks of August," Scruggs said. The ads will show how much Hatch has done for Utah, arguing against the Democrats' claim that Hatch doesn't care about his constituents.
Like Democrat Ted Wilson, who lost against Hatch in 1982, one of the Moss themes is that Hatch is too busy with his national agenda, whether it is health care, day care or whatever, to take care of Utah's concerns. "That tactic didn't work in 1982, the people saw through it, and it won't work this year. But we're doing the TV ads to reinforce in voters' minds what the senator has done for Utah," Scruggs said.
Jones' polls show Hatch is so far ahead, the question facing the senator is how hard does he run. "He will run hard, very hard. But we have made some decisions (in limiting the campaign)," said Scruggs. "We won't hold any more fund raisers in Utah (thus leaving more money available for other Republican candidates). However, we will do some direct mail fund raising in the state." Hatch, always a strong fund-raiser from political action committees, will continue soliciting from PACs.
"Admittedly, we're walking the fine line of over confidence and over kill," said Scruggs. But even though Hatch would likely win the race even if he didn't campaign at all before November, Scruggs said the senator must respond to Moss' criticisms.
Said Scruggs: "If you don't defend yourself against falsehoods, they get the appearance of truth and can come back to haunt you six years from now," when Hatch would face a fourth term.
If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Orrin Hatch, Republican; Brian Moss, Democrat; and Robert J. Smith, American Party; for whom would you vote?
Hatch 71 percent
Moss 21 percent
Smith 2 percent
Don't know 6 percent
Sample size: 603; margin of error plus or minus 4 percent