Utah's Republicans in Congress pledge to do all they can to help Atwood beat Owens; B18.Republican Genevieve Atwood has pulled to within nine percentage points of 2nd District Democratic Rep. Wayne Owens, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.

But in the other U.S. House races, the Republicans continue to hold very healthy leads over their Democratic challengers, found pollster Dan Jones & Associates in a just-completed survey.In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent GOP Rep. Jim Hansen has the support of 59 percent of district voters, while 26 percent favor Democrat Kenley Brunsdale. Fourteen percent don't know whom they'd vote for.

Meanwhile, in the 3rd Congressional District, Republican Karl Snow has 52 percent support, while Democrat Bill Orton is favored by 23 percent of the voters. Twenty-three percent don't know whom they'd vote for.

Jones found that if the election were held today in Salt Lake County's 2nd District, 49 percent would vote for Owens, 40 percent for Atwood, with 2 percent saying they'd vote for someone else and 9 percent undecided.

Among those who told Jones they are very likely to vote, Owens' lead dwindles to 48-42 percent, only a six-point difference with more than a month to go before the election.

Atwood has been gaining on Owens since she defeated fellow Republican Dan Marriott in the Sept. 11 primary election. She has just returnedfrom Washington, D.C., where she received the endorsement, and money, of the Republican National Congressional Committee. She also held a fund raiser, in which she took in more than $60,000.

In a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll taken just before the primary election, Owens led Atwood 55-30 percent. Atwood released a poll last week that showed her within eight percentage points of Owens. Owens' own pollster says she's within 12 points, he says.

Brunsdale has been waging a tough campaign against Hansen in the 1st District, which includes Davis and Weber counties and counties to the north and west of Salt Lake County. But his efforts have borne little fruit in the polls. In the pre-primary poll, Hansen led Brunsdale 63-22 percent. The race has closed a little since then, but only a little.

Since winning the GOP nomination, Snow has gained against Orton in the 3rd District, which includes the southwest portion of Salt Lake County, Utah County and counties to the east and south. The district is considered one of the most Republican in the nation. In the pre-primary poll, Snow led Orton 43-25 percent. Snow has increased his lead in the latest poll by 11 percentage points, Jones found.

******

(Poll)

If the election in the 2nd Congressional District were held today and the candidates were Wayne Owens, Democrat, and Genevieve Atwood, Republican, for whom would you vote?

Definitely Owens 30%

Probably Owens 19%

Probably Atwood 12%

Definitely Atwood 28%

Other 2%

Don't know 9%

If the election in the 1st Congressional District were held today and the candidates were Jim Hansen, Republican, and Kenley Brunsdale, Democrat, for whom would you vote?

Definitely Hansen 37%

Probably Hansen 22%

Probably Brunsdale 10%

Definitely Brunsdale 16%

Don't know 14%

If the election in the 3rd Congressional District were held today and the candidates were Karl Snow, Republican, and Bill Orton, Democrat, for whom would you vote?

Definitely Snow 29%

Probably Snow 23%

Probably Orton 12%

Definitely Orton 11%

Other 1%

Don't know 23%

Sample size: 300 each district; margin of error plus or minus 5.5%