Utahns generally favor re-electing their state senators, but say it is time to elect new people to the State House of Representatives, according to a new Deseret News/KSL Poll.
A plurality of Utahns also say the heated gubernatorial campaign will have little effect on their vote in legislative races; say the Republican Party is best able to solve the state's problems (even though almost as many say Democrats are just as able); and say Democrats are most likely to raise taxes.Dan Jones & Associates interviewed 905 residents for the poll on July 27-28. Figures are considered accurate within 3.2 percent, plus or minus.
When residents were asked whether they felt their state House representative has performed well enough to deserve re-election or whether it was time for someone new, only 31 percent said they would re-elect the incumbent; 40 percent said they would vote for someone new; 8 percent said it depends on who is running; and 21 percent didn't know.
When asked the same question about their state senators, 42 percent of respondents said they would re-elect the incumbent; 32 percent would vote for a new person; 8 percent said it depends on who runs; and 19 percent did not know.
Democratic Party leaders have said they hope a strong showing by Ted Wilson, who is leading Republican Gov. Norm Bangerter by 19 points, could also help the party pick up legislative seats. But the poll suggests that Wilson's coattail effect may be small.
When those who favor Wilson were asked if that makes them more or less likely to vote for a Democrat in the Legislature, only 37 percent said it made it more likely; 53 percent said it made no difference; 5 percent said it made them less likely; and 5 percent did not know.
Of note, when those who favor Bangerter were asked if that makes it more likely they will vote for a Republican legislator, 48 percent said it was more likely; 46 percent said it made no difference; 4 percent said it was less likely; and 3 percent did not know.
People in Utah, which has twice as many Republicans as Democrats, still think the Republican Party is most able to solve the state's problems and is least likely to raise taxes, according to the poll. That should please Republicans running for the Legislature.
But the poll also shows that Democrats are catching up on those questions and are performing better than expected given the 2-1 advantage Republicans hold in the state.
When the poll asked which party is better able to solve the problems of the state, 36 percent said the Republicans; 33 percent said the Democrats; 9 percent said neither; 11 percent said both are equal; and 12 percent didn't know. That 3 percent lead by the Republicans is within the poll's margin of error, so essentially both parties are viewed as equals in problem-solving skills.
Do you think your state representative has performed well enough to deserve re-election, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance?
Re-elect incumbent House member 31 percent
Elect a new person 40 percent
Depends on who runs 8 percent
Don't know 21 percent
Do you think your state senator has performed well enough to deserve re-election, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance?
Re-elect incumbent senator 42 percent
Elect a new person 32 percent
Depends on who runs 8 percent
Don't know 19 percent
Sample size: 905; margin of error plus or minus 3.2 percent