Rep. Wayne Owens leads Genevieve Atwood by 11 percentage points in the 2nd District, Rep. Jim Hansen leads Kenley Brunsdale by 26 percentage points in the 1st District and Karl Snow leads Bill Orton by 14 percentage points in the 3rd District, the final Deseret News/KSL-TV election poll shows.
As citizens make up their minds about next Tuesday's election, it appears the effort to remove the sales tax from food will fail. The initiative is behind by 21 points and appears to be headed for the same fate as three tax-cutting initiatives in 1988, when citizens said "no."Pollster Dan Jones & Associates conducted the final poll for the newspaper and television station Monday through Thursday of last week. Jones sampled 1,208 registered voters statewide with a margin of error of just 2.8 percent. In the three congressional districts, Jones polled about 400 registered voters, margin of error plus or minus 5 percent.
Jones asked respondents whom they'd vote for. Of those who said they didn't know, Jones asked whom they leaned toward supporting and then wrapped those "leaners" into the number of true supporters.
Jones cautions that his poll accurately reflects voter feelings at the time of the polling. His figures don't predict how people will actually vote on Tuesday. However, in past elections Jones' final poll has closely reflected actual election results.
The closest race Jones found is in Salt Lake County, where incumbent GOP Commissioner Bart Barker trails his Democratic challenger Jim Bradley, 41 percent to 46 percent. Among those who said they are likely to vote Tuesday, it is a dead heat: Barker 45 percent, Bradley 45 percent. The race is clearly a tossup.
In the other County Commission race, incumbent GOP Commissioner Tom Shimizu leads former state Democratic Party chairman Randy Horiuchi, 53 percent to 39 percent.
Democratic incumbent Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom leads GOP challenger Mark Anderson 49 percent to 40 percent with 11 percent undecided in a quiet race. And Democratic incumbent Sheriff Pete Hayward leads GOP challenger Aaron Kennard 54 percent to 39 percent with 7 percent undecided in a race that's seen some sharp exchanges between the two.
Hansen is clearly on his way to winning a sixth term. He leads Brunsdale, 57 percent to 31 percent, with American Party candidate Reva Marx Wadsworth getting 4 percent support. Eight percent don't know whom they'd vote for.
The 2nd District race doesn't appear as close as some believed. Jones found that Owens leads Atwood, 52 percent to 41 percent, with Independent Party candidate Lawrence Rey Topham getting just 1 percent support, Socialist Workers Party candidate Eleanor Garcia at 1 percent, 1 percent mentioned someone else and 4 percent were undecided. Among those who said they have a high interest in the election, the race closes to 6 percentage points - Owens favored by 50 percent, Atwood by 44 percent. Among those likely to vote, it spreads out to 10 points - Owens 52 percent, Atwood 42 percent.
Atwood defeated better-known Republican Dan Marriott in the Sept. 11 GOP primary and clearly had momentum as she closed on Owens in the polls. But her campaign seems to have faltered lately, even though Atwood is running hard and hammering Owens on his budget votes.
The race has a number of oddities. Of course, there is the matter of gender, Atwood the woman facing Owens the man. In addition, the Democrat Owens is a Mormon, while the Republican Atwood is not a member of the LDS Church. How the religion and gender issues would play puzzled campaign strategists.
Jones found that Atwood's and Owens' strengths followed predictable paths among men - Owens is favored by non-LDS men and Atwood is favored by LDS men.
But the women's vote breaks out strangely. Atwood is just barely favored among LDS women, 48-47 percent. Since most LDS voters align themselves with the Republican rather than Democratic, party, Atwood should do better in that group, most experts believe. And Owens cleans house among non-LDS female voters, 70-21 percent. Considering Atwood is a non-LDS woman, many believed she'd do better among that group of voters.
In the 3rd District, Snow leads Orton, 48-34 percent. American Party candidate Robert Smith gets 2 percent support, Socialist Workers Party candidate gets 0 percent support, 1 percent mentioned someone else and 14 percent don't know. That's the largest "don't know" vote in the congressional races, perhaps reflecting the negative nature of the campaign.
Most Utahns, 52 percent, say it's time to give someone new a chance in their respective Utah House and Senate races. But more of those same respondents say they'll be voting for Republican legislative candidates over Democratic candidates - 46-26 percent. Since there are more GOP incumbents running than Democratic incumbents, it appears there won't be a shake-up in the state House this year.
Jim Hansen 57%
Kenley Brunsdale 31%
Wayne Owens 52%
Genevieve Atwood 41%
Karl Snow 48%
Bill Orton 34%